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Old October 12 2009, 06:20 PM   #16
unusualsuspex
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Location: Norfolk UK
Re: Star Trek : Angel

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

7

BORG TRANSWARP HUB
SPATIAL GRID 986
DELTA QUADRANT
September 11th 2371


The Queen had at last allocated the resources she required across the four quadrants for a general change in patrols. Cubes had been recalled, others had been dispatched and events spun on around her controlling centre.

The latest cube assignment was the one destined for the Alpha Quadrant. A region of space known as the Azure Nebula had captured her attention nestled at the intersection of Klingon, Romulan and Federation space. The cube would investigate the anomalous readings that had been recorded there and determine whether a larger force should investigate.

As she devoted her concentration to transmitting her orders to the cube, events elsewhere in the hub began to unfold.

Corrosive lubricants that were normally contained in shielded and flexible conduits had seeped through a miniscule crack on to a group of information transfer cables. A small hiss of melted cable was the only visible sign of the forthcoming catastrophe.


UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2310 FST


While the probes had completed their stealthy scan of the system, Chariscarpia had continued her study of the Federation language. She was well aware that she was nowhere near a full understanding of this multi-faceted language, but she believed she was now conversant with its basic concepts and meanings. Unshielded communications both in-system and out to worlds beyond had provided her with a wealth of material to study.

She had heard little more from the ship that she had followed to this system, a ship that she was now fairly certain was called Angel having monitored its unencrypted transmissions. She knew it had rested here for a while to undergo some form of maintenance and that with that work close to completion it would shortly be leaving. She was currently debating whether to follow it further on its travels or continue on her previous course and had decided that with none of the original crew left to provide a determining answer, her choice would be as good as any. As long as the mission continued, then her duty was done.
She once more settled into her monitoring and deciphering and felt a quiet sense of satisfaction in what she was achieving.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER DOCK
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 11th 2371 – 2310 FST


As Beta shift commander, especially in dock, Sendok had found little in the way of stressful duties coming his way. Organising the rotation for his shift’s shore leave had been the closest to hard work he’d had to contemplate during their stay here. Of course it had given him ample time to study, particularly the latest science journals of which he was an avid reader.

Checking the chrono built into the arm of the centre seat, he realised that it was almost time for the change to Gamma shift. He bookmarked the PADD he’d been reading and stood to begin a tour of the bridge stations. Normally while in dock, a skeleton crew would man essential stations on any ship making a maintenance layover, but the on-call mission of the Angel had prompted the requirement for a manning level halfway between skeleton and full. Even given the recall time of off-ship personnel, the ship would be ready to launch within an hour maximum.

Right now, many of the members of the reduced bridge staff were finding the quiet duty shift an ideal time to rehearse secondary duty posts and were acquainting themselves with the bridge positions they would be expected to man in a crisis situation.

For instance the Beta shift Conn officer, Lieutenant Tara Courtney, was at the moment being mentored by Lieutenant Patrick Mahoney at the Ops Management console next to her usual post.

Ensign Gava bal Chag, the Tellarite Mission Ops officer was studying the tactical console under the tutelage of Lieutenant T’Mass from security.

Sendok was surprised that even the usually pugnacious Chag was quietly attending to the calm and orderly tutelage of the Vulcan security officer and realised that he had a group of professionals around him who would be prepared for any eventuality.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please note we are shortly due for shift change. Any outstanding tasks should be completed and your positions secured for handover.”

He was answered by a chorus of ‘Aye Sir’s from around the bridge as the Beta shift returned to their duty posts.

Sendok had to admit that he was now more than ready to be back in free space once more and looked forward to their departure from dock tomorrow afternoon with some relish.


BORG TRANSWARP HUB
SPATIAL GRID 986
DELTA QUADRANT
September 11th 2371


As the Borg cube approached the entrance to transwarp aperture 837, the Queen watched in fascination. When the ship passed through this aperture into conduit 12, it would project a structural integrity field ahead of itself to compensate for the extreme gravimetric shear it would encounter as subspace was folded over on itself.

Accelerating to speeds up to thirty times faster than a vessel travelling at warp 9, the cube would enter the Alpha Quadrant within minutes to begin its inspection of the Azure Nebula.

It was at the exact moment that the cube entered the aperture that the information transfer fibres corroded through causing the targeting sensors and locks for the transwarp conduit to fail.

In milliseconds, the exit aperture for the conduit became unanchored and the conduit flailed in subspace like a torn mooring cable. By the time the automated system had switched to backups, the exit aperture had already swept through multiple locations, and eventually tore a hole in subspace just outside the orbit of Zethander. Seconds later, chaos erupted into real space.


UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2312 FST


Chariscarpia was immediately alert as she detected the tear in subspace. The event itself was serious enough to gain her attention, but it was the associated sensor readings that sent a wave of panic through her.

In all her turns of travel she had managed to avoid the scourge of the Borg and had believed them to be left far behind in the Delta Quadrant. The sensors now indicated otherwise. Switching the scans across all the spectrums at her command, she watched in horror as a fissure opened on the far side of the asteroid field she was using as cover. It began not unlike an ugly bruise on space itself before splitting with discharges of energy and becoming an open rent in the very fabric of subspace.

As she monitored the distorted aperture, she wasted precious moments deciding whether to run or remain hidden amongst the asteroids.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER DOCK
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE

September 11th 2371 – 2312 FST


As Sendok returned to the centre seat, he heard the chirp of an incoming transmission from the tactical console to his right. Turning he saw T’Mass raise one delicate eyebrow.

“Lieutenant?” he queried.

“Sir, it is Zethander Space Dock Control with an all stations emergency code.”

Sendok sat bolt upright in the chair, his forgotten PADD clattering to the deck. Around him, the Beta shift crew not already at their stations hurriedly ran to them.
“On screen Lieutenant.”

“…repeat, subspace report: bearing 310 mark 020. Detecting tri-quantum waves and subspace distortions with field magnitudes exceeding 2.9 teracochranes. Readings consistent with known Borg technology. All staff to report to duty stations immediately. This is not a drill, I repeat, subspace…”

The repeated call was silenced as Sendok held up his hand.

“T’Mass, Red Alert and Captain to the bridge immediately. Mr Chag, begin immediate crew recall procedures. Conn, Ops, initiate dock departure clearances.”

Sendok stood now, facing the view screen. “Lieutenant T’Mass, do we have a visual on the event?”

“Standby Sir.” T’Mass flicked through the available sensor feeds from the station and eventually brought up the one directed at the section of space beyond the asteroid field. The asteroids were silhouetted against an ever brightening and expanding rip in space that pulsated with sickly green flashes unlike anything Sendok had ever seen before. Behind him the bridge doors hissed open and Dan ran on to the bridge.

“Mr Sendok, report.” Dan stopped dead in his tracks as he saw the gathering maelstrom on the screen. “What the hell is that?”

Sendok turned. “Trouble Sir.”


THE EVENT HORIZON CLUB
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE

September 11th 2371 – 2315 FST


Around the club, the party atmosphere of moments before had vanished as Starfleet crew members hurried outside to designated beam out points. They knew that a general recall was rarely made unless the situation was dire. Spider waited until the last of the crew had departed the club then tapped his comm badge.

“Tarrant to Angel.” He watched as the remaining patrons stared bemusedly at the frantic departure of three quarters of the clientele and shrugged his shoulders before heading out into the cool night air.

“Go ahead Chief.” He recognised the voice of Lieutenant T’Mass and was glad for a calm influence amongst the recall procedures.

“Ma’am, I have a good portion of the planetside crew in my location at this time. Unless there’s a problem that prevents it might I suggest using the triage transporters as well?”

“Thank you Chief. Transport commencing at this time. The Captain requests that we get the Valkyrie’s out immediately on your arrival.”

“Acknowledged, Tarrant out.” Running quickly into the orderly mass of bodies, he managed to grab both Dingbat and Homer out of the crowd and quickly explained the order.
“I have no idea what’s going on up there, but this doesn’t sound good.”


UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2317 FST


With a flash of decaying radiation, the Borg cube burst forth from the spatial rift at a velocity that left it no chance to avoid the wall of asteroids. Despite the
structural integrity field it had projected ahead of itself, the damage was crippling as tumbling asteroids the size of starships were smashed into motion by the runaway cube.

Realising almost too late that the whole section of asteroids she was hiding amongst was suddenly in motion, Chariscarpia brought the engines on line and attempted to manoeuvre away from the worst of the impact area. By this time it was too late though as the planetoids obeyed the laws of physics stating that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Asteroids splintered in the spinning confusion of impact and the Borg cube, slowed but not by much, ploughed on through their centre totally out of control. Chariscarpia swung round to aim for a large gap that had opened in the dreadful ballet of rocks and wreckage and applied full power. It mattered little now if she was detected. The only other option was destruction.

The ship swung wide of the penultimate asteroid and darted forward, Chariscarpia believing that by some miracle she had escaped. Just before blackness descended on her, she felt the impact of the Borg cube as it struck a glancing blow, and then she knew no more.


BORG CUBE
UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2317 FST


Ten of Nineteen, Primary Adjunct of Unimatrix 217 was neither panicked nor afraid as events unfolded. He was Borg. Fear was irrelevant.

As the cube began to die around him, he reported the failed mission to the Queen through the Collective but received no reply.

He turned his attention to the screen that now showed what remained of the cube heading directly for a blue green planet, preceded by large remnants of asteroid propelled by their collision. Even the jar of yet another impact didn’t slow the work of the drones. There was no thought that attempting to continue repairs on the ship was futile. Rather, the work continued unabated even as the planet filled the screen before him.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER DOCK
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 11th 2371 – 2325 FST


“Bridge this is Chief Tarrant, both Valkyrie’s now launched. Remaining runabouts on standby, hangar deck secure.”

“Thank you Chief, bridge out.” Dan turned to Mission Ops where Kat Gray had taken over from Chag. “How’s the recall going?”

“Three more minutes and we’ll have full manning. All sections report ready for launch Sir.”

“Thank you Commander, we’ll bring the rest up on the move until we have to raise shields. Tactical, report.”

Chief of Security DeSalle was at Tactical rapidly working the board.

“Borg incursion confirmed Sir, but the cube has suffered major damage from asteroid impact. Power failing, weapons offline and direct heading for the planet. I don’t believe it’s a controlled heading Sir.”

“Plot an impact point for the cube and the asteroids please and relay to Sciences and to the relevant planetary authorities. Conn take us out, and Tactical give me shields as soon as we clear dock. Commander, you have that long to get aboard anybody still planetside, otherwise they beam up to the station.”

Dan weighed his options carefully. The cube itself looked as if it wouldn’t provide a coherent threat, but the damage both it and the asteroids would cause on impact was likely to be immense. He watched on the screen as the Valkyrie fighters left dock ahead of them and silently prayed that the impact zones planetside would be uninhabited.

As DeSalle transferred the information to the screen on Dan’s chair, he realised that the hope was forlorn.
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Old October 12 2009, 07:24 PM   #17
unusualsuspex
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Location: Norfolk UK
Re: Star Trek : Angel

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

8


USS ANGEL – FLIGHT DECK OPERATIONS OFFICE
ZETHANDER DOCK
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 11th 2371 – 2326 FST


“Raptor One check.”

“Raptor Two check.”

“Eyrie this is Raptor Flight checking in.”

Lieutenant Jean ‘Eyrie’ O’Hara plotted both of the fighters on her board as they left dock and turned to intercept the rapidly approaching cube, or what was now left of it.

“Raptor flight this is Eyrie. Control established. Suggest you get above the inbound and follow it in. Tactical says it has failing power and weapons are offline, but I wouldn’t trust ‘em as far as I could throw ‘em.”

O’Hara was herself an ex-fighter pilot who now served as the fighter controller aboard the Angel. It was her duty to co-ordinate the two nimble craft until they were in a position to take over a combat intercept themselves.

“Acknowledged Eyrie, we’re climbing now. Advise Tactical that some of the slower asteroids look like they’re breaking up. It could be they’ll pose a problem to the dock on their current vectors.”

“Relaying now Raptor One. Are you happy to take the mission?”

Mo accepted control, and O’Hara hurriedly contacted Tactical to relay the asteroid warning.

******

Dan relied, as all good commanding officer’s did, on the professionalism of his crew and their ability to mesh as a team. He also knew better than to try and micro-manage and sat silently for now as the subdued hum of work continued around him.

“Sir, message from Raptor flight.” DeSalle transmitted the updated asteroid plot to Dan’s chair. “The expanding asteroid field looks like it could threaten Zethander dock.”

“Thank you Mr DeSalle. Science, I need a continually updated plot on the asteroids and immediate notification if there is any threat to Zethander dock that their shields and defensive weapons can’t handle.”

“Aye Sir.” T’Sell, the Chief Science Officer was currently manning science one behind his right shoulder.

“Commander Gray, anybody who isn’t aboard now misses the ride.” It was unavoidable but Dan wasn’t about to leave dock without shields.

“Good news sir we got ‘em all.” Kat brushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear as she grinned at Dan.

“Good timing Commander. Mr DeSalle, shields please. Let’s take a look at this mess.”

Angel soared out into free space and her viewscreen at last showed him first hand the devastation that had been wrought by the arrival of the cube. Asteroids that had previously maintained a relatively stable orbit were now being ricocheted around as collisions broke them into smaller random moving pieces.

T’Sell broke into his thoughts. “Sir, update on the impact points. Several will land close to Coral City, more offshore. The offshore ones will possibly be just as devastating however. I’m estimating multiple tsunami effects. The Borg trajectory puts its impact point inland approximately 50 kilometres south of the city.”

Alright Dan, just like a simulation, piece by piece and prioritise, he thought to himself.

The Borg were no longer part of the equation right now. If any survived the impact, then they’d deal with them at that stage. He didn’t dare open fire on the cube in case it fragmented and posed an even greater threat planetside. Similarly, he daren’t risk firing on the asteroids, though there was another option.

“T’Sell, I want you to plot the asteroids that pose the greatest threat and prioritise them on screen. Commander, get the runabouts out and down to the planet ready to assist in evacuation procedures. Mr DeSalle, prepare tractor beams on the priorities assigned by Science.”

He plotted the pieces of the jigsaw in his mind and saw them starting to come together. He just hoped it would be in time.


RAPTOR FLIGHT
UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2330 FST


Mo was appalled to see the bodies of Borg drones adrift in the wake of the rapidly disintegrating cube. She had no love for the Borg of course, but each body she passed had once been a sentient being plucked from their everyday lives and assimilated to serve the needs of the Collective.

The cube, even battered and torn as it was, was still huge and its very appearance made Mo shudder. Under normal circumstances, it would have classed her as insignificant, wiping her out without even pausing for breath. The dark grey slab sided form bled green light from numerous gashes along its flanks and the whole forward face was nothing more than a tangled mass of metal. It now ran far ahead of the asteroids and still showed no sign of slowing or acknowledging their presence.

“Raptor flight this is Eyrie.”

“Go ahead Eyrie.”

“Raptor flight, command requests that unless you have anything out there that needs attention, you recover to home plate this time.”

“Standby Eyrie.” Mo switched channels to talk to Homer on their discrete tactical frequency. “Any point in watching this close up my man?”

Mo heard the shudder in Homer’s voice and immediately sympathised with him. “It’s like a graveyard out here Mo and we ain’t achieving a damn thing.”

She nodded and reselected the command frequency. “Eyrie this is Raptor flight, show’s over out here, returning to base this time.”

“Received Raptor, Eyrie out.”

As the pair of Valkyrie’s turned for home, Mo thought that what made the sight worse was that many of the Borg were still alive, adapted by their assimilation to operating in vacuum indefinitely. Their’s would either be a lonely death as they drifted out into the frigid coldness of deep space, or a mercifully brief one as the friction of planetary re-entry incinerated them.

Mo didn’t like the thought of either.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2336 FST


Dan watched as the Valkyrie’s climbed up and above the cloud of debris currently heading towards Zethander allowing Angel a clear run at the first target. T’Sell had marked many of the asteroids as zero threats which would either burn up on re-entry or land in un-populated zones without causing damage to the planetary infrastructure. Of the one hundred and twenty two left, eighty five were of low threat, twenty seven medium and the remaining ten were the highest threat. Dan knew he had to work quickly to negate as much of that threat as possible.

In the Crisis Control Centre, or C3, situated between the bridge and the briefing room aft, co-ordinating operations were underway to evacuate those areas at the highest risk from impact. Time was now their greatest enemy.

“Alright Mr DeSalle, your chance to shine.” Dan noticed that his Chief of Security’s shaved head was covered in a thin sheen of sweat but his expression was one of calm determination. “Time to lasso an asteroid. Commander Machilveen, ready?”

His Chief Engineer was now at her bridge engineering station ready to co-ordinate the massive energy reserves required to deflect the asteroid.

“Ready as we’ll ever be Sir.”

Good enough he thought. “Time to first impact Commander T’Sell?”

“Twenty seven minutes and thirty five seconds sir.”

Nowhere near enough time to get all of them, but they still had to try.

“Ok the operation’s yours Commander T’Sell.”

Dan stood and walked to the rear of the bridge to stand next to Kat Gray. Right now the mission was in the concerted hands of his crew and he would do nothing to interrupt.

He followed the intricate operation on the Mission Ops console. First the huge starship laid in a parallel course to the priority target before power was fed to the two huge tractor emitters and the asteroid was snared. Now came the time consuming part. It only required a course change of a few degrees to deflect the asteroid away from a critical area on the planet ahead, but those few degrees had to be accurate to prevent it smashing into yet another vulnerable area.

The mass and momentum of the asteroid meant that the change was slow but it seemed just moments before T’Sell called “Release!” and the operation began all over again on target two.

Dan’s attention was distracted by an incoming signal.

“Bridge, this is flight deck ops.”

“Go ahead Eyrie.”

The Irish brogue of Jean O’Hara sounded slightly perplexed.

“Sir, Raptor flight has discovered a vessel out by the entry point of the Borg cube.”

Dan was immediately alert. “Do we have a visual?”

Kat transferred a feed from Raptor One on to her console screen.

The vessel was the purest white except where the remains of the Borg cube had impacted marring its pristine surface. It consisted of a central body tapering to the rear and on each side were three extensions tipped by what appeared to be the main propulsion units, though what powered them remained a mystery. The head of the ship was an open ring not unlike a letter C with the opening facing forward. Fishlock thought that in plan form it resembled a huge immobile and albino scorpion. You really have to stop thinking like that he thought to himself, especially when it involves bugs.

“Raptor One says scans show no life forms aboard and power is at minimal levels Captain. Zethander Dock says they have no knowledge of the ship either and it doesn’t correspond to anything in the data banks. Would you like me to get Raptor Flight to check it out?”

He certainly didn’t want the Valkyrie’s coming back aboard while their asteroid deflection was ongoing, and it was quite possible the new ship might have been dragged through the spatial rift with the Borg. Prudence dictated that it should be checked out sooner rather than later.

“Do it Eyrie. Keep the feed live to Mission Ops, I’ll monitor it from there.”

“Aye Captain.”

He raised his eyebrows at Kat who simply shrugged. In the background he heard T’Sell order “Release!” again, and so it began once more.


RAPTOR FLIGHT
UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2347 FST


“Raptor Flight, cleared to intercept bogey, Command is monitoring your feed.”

Kat acknowledged the call then switched to the tactical frequency to co-ordinate with her wing man.

“Homer, intercept pattern Gamma. If it looks clear we’ll go scan and cover.”

“Gotcha. Ready for the split.”

The pair of aerospace fighters diverged at Mo’s signal to approach the apparently dormant ship from opposite directions. Although initial scans showed no overt sign of activity, Mo wasn’t about to let that lull her into a false sense of security. Once they had ascertained as far as possible that the ship presented no apparent threat, Mo would start a close in scan while Homer held off at a distance to provide cover.

“Don’t know about your side Mo, but it looks clean from here.”

“This side too apart from that one nasty ding in the mid section. Scans are showing that it was probably hit by the cube. You happy to start scan and cover?” As Homer called affirmative, Mo switched the sensors in her fighter from passive to deep scan.

She ran the length of the mysterious white ship with Homer running a parallel track some 500 metres out before flipping over and under to repeat the process. Finishing the scan, they withdrew to study the results.

“Still no life forms, but I get a null node just aft of where the cube hit. You see that?”

“Yea got it Mo. Think it’s sensor shielded or an artefact of the impact?”

Mo shook her head even though Homer couldn’t see her puzzled look. “No idea my man. Let me feed it back to Eyrie and they can worry about it.”

She switched channels to the fighter control frequency. “Eyrie, sensor dump coming in. Request further instructions, Raptor Flight standing by.”


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 11th 2371 – 2358FST


While T’Sell was tied up (poor time for puns Dan thought to himself) with lassoing asteroids, Science 2 had been manned by the young Sezdati Ensign, Kara Asheen, who was now poring over the data received from Raptor Flight. Dan leaned in over the console and pointed.

“Is that the null node there?”

Asheen nodded bringing the area into greater magnification.

“Yes Sir. To be honest, it could be anything from a shielded computer core to a crew emergency bolthole. If the Valkyrie scans can’t penetrate from that close in, I doubt we’ll find out anything more without a boarding party.”

She looked up at him quickly in embarrassment, her mirrored eyes reflecting a distorted image of his face and he smiled.

“I’ll take that into consideration Ensign, thank you.”

“Sorry Sir.” Dan realised she was mortified at making mission suggestions unprompted to her commanding officer and he tried to ease her discomfort.

“Don’t worry, I expect any member of the crew to furnish opinions when they feel it’s necessary Ensign.” Her smile of relief was evident so Dan pushed on quickly. “What else do the scans tell us?”

“Well the ship’s alive and in remarkably good condition. Power to all sections of the ship, some low level automated activity, just apparently no crew Sir.”

“Thank you Ensign, keep working on it.” She nodded once more and he returned to Kat’s side. “Get an away team together, science, medical, engineering and security. Remember though, If there is anybody over there I don’t want them to think we’re invading. We just need to be able to offer effective assistance if we can.”

“On it Sir.” Kat waved over Amanda Gittings who relieved her at Mission Ops and as Kat left the bridge, he heard T’Sell pronounce, “That’s number eight. Targeting number nine, Conn take us in.”

Dan was too afraid to ask if they were ahead of the curve so wisely kept quiet as he wandered back over to Science 2 and studied the Scorpion.
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Old October 13 2009, 08:17 AM   #18
unusualsuspex
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Location: Norfolk UK
Re: Star Trek : Angel

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

9

RUNABOUT USS KOCH
CH’HANDRA MEDICAL FACILITY
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0001 FST

Misaki had sat in the cockpit of the USS Koch for thirty minutes now as the next party of children was loaded aboard. In the dark sky above, evidence of the forthcoming asteroid storm was plain to see as bright streaks of light split the darkness. The smaller debris was burning up before reaching the ground right now, and according to the latest update all of the major threats had hopefully been diverted.
Misaki knew though that there were still over twenty medium threat asteroids still approaching and scores of low threat. It was one of the medium threats that had provoked the evacuation of the coastal hospital. While civilian transports rapidly cleared the coastal residences, the Angel’s runabouts with their onboard medical facilities were aiding in moving the elderly and infirm.

Misaki couldn’t help but smile when she heard the ooh’s and aah’s from the youngsters as they watched the night sky. In other circumstances, she could imagine standing and watching the display with her younger sisters Sakura & Asami. It had been a fluke of nature (or so Misaki believed) that had cured her youngest sister of Chendari Syndrome otherwise she too would have spent what was left of her young life in hospital.**

“Koch from Angel.”

Misaki tuned out the children as she answered the comm.

“Go ahead Angel.”

“Be advised, we have an asteroid split. Point of impact is estimated three kilometres off shore in 23 minutes. Low threat according to Science but be prepared. They also report that the Borg cube will impact within eight minutes now estimated 63 kilometres south of your location.”

Misaki quickly calculated their flight out to the evacuation centre and back and knew they should have enough time for the final run.

“Koch acknowledges, out.” She turned to Ensign Mara Hannick supervising the rear compartment. “Mara, are we ready?”

The dark skinned young woman checked over her charges then came and joined Misaki in the cockpit.

“All strapped in. They’re having a whale of a time back there. Buster is having to tell them stories!”

Misaki smiled knowing the big medic would be absolutely hating it.

She applied lift and routed south to head inland, pushing the runabout to its atmospheric limit. She knew that every second she could shave off the journey now would be extra seconds of safety for the children.

(** The story of Hiroshi Misaki’s sister is covered in VIGNETTE 3 – HIROSHI MISAKI available on my site!)


BORG CUBE
ENTERING ZETHANDER ATMOSPHERE
September 12th 2371 – 0011 FST

Ten of Nineteen continued to monitor the last seconds of the cubes life in typical Borg coldness. He issued instructions to Four of Seven, Intermediary of Trimatrix 4745, ordering a strengthening of buckling shields at their location but received no response.

It was at that point, some 3000 metres above ground that a vast store of volatile gas and liquid storage in the lower levels of the cube ruptured. The explosion tore out the surrounding three levels obliterating them in an incandescent detonation but more importantly it affected the cubes trajectory. The blast and subsequent downward jet of ignited chemicals reduced the descent speed and pushed the shattered cube sideways. Leaving a thick black trail of noxious gases in the clear night air it blazed inexorably down and on its new path Ten of Nineteen noted with indifference that the cube would now impact in the ocean off the coast of the large peninsula.

Initiating one last command into his failing console, it was 9.6 seconds later that Ten of Nineteen ceased to be.


RUNABOUT USS KOCH
EN ROUTE TO CH’HANDRA MEDICAL FACILITY
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0011 FST

They’d made good time to the evacuation centre and immediately had the children transferred off the runabout to begin their final trip. Misaki programmed the final descent into the grounds of the hospital and had just finished checking in with the ground team when the runabout bucked wildly. Fighting to regain control she swore in her native language as the remains of the Borg cube tore the air above the small ship, its shockwave almost spinning them out of control.

“Kuso!” Reacting purely on instinct, Misaki raised the nose and killed all power momentarily before reapplying it again. The resultant porpoise motion of the runabout slowed it slightly and the upward vector pushed it above the layer of turbulence left in the cubes wake, but it produced an equally dangerous side effect as they were battered by wreckage detached from the plummeting cube.

“Mara, get a distress call out, I am not going to be able to keep us airborne much longer!” Already Misaki saw the telltale flashes of red warning tabs flicker up on her display, but Mara was frozen in her seat, the sight of the Borg cube paralyzing her.

“Mara NOW!” As if a switch had been flicked, Mara’s eyes went wide and she worked the panel rapidly. Misaki had little time to listen as the computer reported multiple failings where wreckage had impacted with the runabout. Spotting a relatively level area of land in the suburbs to her left, she swung the stricken craft toward it and prayed there would be enough open space.

She had the chance to shout “Brace for impact!” before the port nacelle kissed the ground and they began to plough a destructive trail across the plain.


OPEN OCEAN
105KM NORTH OF CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0011 FST

Despite the loss of over half it’s mass due to impact with the asteroids and atmospheric erosion, the Borg cube was still immense. Perhaps the only thing that prevented a planet wide catastrophe was the shallow angle and reduced speed at which the cube eventually hit but even so the results were cataclysmic.

There was no explosion as much of the cube’s volatile material had already detonated. Instead the massive patchwork of assimilated parts tumbled across the surface, digging deeper and shedding more parts as it went.
Observers in Coral City could see little of the impact but the sound was like the coming of Armageddon and rolled ominously across the city.

Eventually the noise subsided and in its wake was silence broken only by the quiet tinkle of falling transparisteel. It was a silence that wasn’t to last for long.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
UFP SPACE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 0012 FST

“Sir!” Kara Asheen stared wide eyed at her console and Dan rushed over to see the cause of her panic.

“It’s the Borg cube Sir. I don’t know what happened but its trajectory and speed altered shortly before impact.” She worked her console quickly, scrolling back through the automated sensor logs and eventually spotting the detonation above the surface.

“There Sir.” She pointed at the spiked readout. “A massive detonation. It must have been somewhere in the lower half of the cube.”

“Why do you say that?” Dan tried to follow the rapidly changing graphics that Asheen monitored with ease.

“Change in vector Sir. Its speed slowed and its angle of descent decreased. Essentially it changed direction and travelled further and that’s the problem.” She widened the image and Dan saw immediately that the problems he’d felt they were now on top of had just been trebled.

He tapped the commbadge on his chest. “Fishlock to C3.”

The call was answered by a Benzite lieutenant in the Crisis Control Centre aft of the bridge.

“Lieutenant Modrak, go ahead Sir.”

“Lieutenant, I need all runabouts back to the coast immediately for evacuation duties. Advise them that the Borg cube has landed out to sea and they should expect imminent tsunami effects. Science will update you with a time estimate shortly.”

“Aye Sir.”

As the link went dead, he turned to Asheen. “How much time do we have?”

She looked at him with her silvered eyes and said quietly “A little over 15 minutes Sir.”


RUNABOUT USS BARNARD
MUNICIPAL PARK EVACUATION STATION
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0014 FST

Lieutenant Ariana Meredith’s eyes went wide and as she broke the connection, she leapt from her seat to drag Shathrissia sh'Loran to one side. As she explained the latest report from the Angel, the Andorian security officer’s face visibly paled.

“Thriss we need to expedite the load up. We might get another run in but I doubt it. Pile ‘em in, I don’t care if we need to run at ground level. Children, women, and then men.”

Thriss nodded before disappearing through into the aft section to relay the message to the security ensigns helping to supervise the evacuation. While they didn’t dare share the reason for the sudden change in loading, the evacuees were remarkably compliant. Thriss felt her heart go out to those who would likely never see loved ones again.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0015 FST

“Sir we’re simply not going to manage with the runabouts even with the civilian transports helping.” Lieutenant Amanda Gittings had run the figures several times at Mission Ops and they stubbornly refused to change.

Dan almost slapped himself for his stupidity. “The transporters!” The combination of monitoring the asteroid operation, the mystery ship and all the other intricacies that were unfolding around him had almost made him forget the primary function of the converted vessel.

Opening a ship wide channel from the centre seat he broadcast a message that he hadn’t expected to use for some while yet.

“All hands this is the Captain. All transporter crews to emergency stations, standby for emergency evacuation procedures. Mission Ops will co-ordinate.”

As his voice echoed through the busy corridors and annexes of the Angel repeating the order, crew men and women previously attending to secondary tasks broke into a run to their emergency posts. It was with a sense of quiet pride to Dan that the teams were in place within two minutes and the CMO reported ready to receive casualties some 20 seconds later.

“Do it Lieutenant!” As Gittings began the co-ordination of beam out sites and numbers he turned to T’Sell.

“T’Sell, how are we doing with the asteroids?”

She looked up briefly from her board. “All major threats neutralized Sir, 15 medium threats also neutralized.”
“Thank you.” With adrenaline coursing through his veins, he knew that the Angel was making a difference. How much of one was now dictated by time and tide.
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Old October 13 2009, 08:17 AM   #19
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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9 (cont)

RUNABOUT USS BARNARD
MUNICIPAL PARK EVACUATION STATION
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0018 FST

Thriss shook her head, briefly confused as a large group of evacuees twinkled in a transporter effect and disappeared. Of course! She thought.

“Ladies, gentlemen, please listen.” The slightly surprised mass of people quietened at the sound of Thriss’ call. “The Angel has started an emergency evacuation using transporters on the ship. I want you to follow these directions to the letter please...”

The crowd were watching her intently as she paused, and then they too heard the noise. A quiet susurration as of distant surf, more felt than heard.

A low murmur broke out amongst the crowd, people looking around uncertainly. Thriss realised she needed to focus their minds elsewhere and quickly.

“Please, I need your attention!” Her shout was harsher than she would have wished, but under the circumstances she didn’t care.

“When you reach the ship, you need to immediately evacuate the transporter pads and follow the directions of the crew there. Do you understand?”

There were nods around the crowd and a sense of order seemed to restore itself as a second group disappeared. She tapped her commbadge and was answered by Gittings.
“Do you need us to disperse the crowd into groups down here, or are the transporter teams happy to take what they can at a time?”

There was a momentary silence as Gittings attended to something on her panel before she said “Leave them as they are Thriss. Have you briefed them on arrival procedures?” Gittings’ soft Welsh tones were soothing to Thriss’ ears as she nodded to herself.

“All done.”

“Good luck then, Angel out.”

Thriss knew that luck was something they would all need tonight.


RUNABOUT USS KOCH
SUBURBS OF CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0018 FST

Misaki shook her head which only seemed to make the cockpit blur and spin more rapidly. She tried to move and winced as pain shot through her side. Broken ribs she diagnosed seeing that there was no external wound. Every other part of her body ached, but nothing seemed to be permanently damaged. She didn’t dare apply an analgesic until she’d attended to the rest of the crew.

Looking around she could see the spread eagled form of Mara Hannick lying against the aft bulkhead.

“Mara?” With no response, she tried again. “Mara!”

Her friend stirred slightly but didn’t respond. Misaki sighed in relief; it was good enough for now. Managing to drag herself to her feet she checked Hannick over noting the gash across her forehead but the tricorder reported no internal injuries. Misaki administered a stimulant and waited until she groggily opened her eyes.

“Mara, just stay here. We are safe for now, but I need to check on Buster and Abbi ok?” Hannick nodded and immediately regretted it, but waved her hand to signal that Misaki should go.

The scene in the rear compartment was much worse.

Lieutenant Abbi Gethyn was crumpled in a far corner, her leg at an unnatural angle. As she turned to search for the big, good natured medic Buster Hammond her eyes went wide and her hand flew to her mouth.

One of the structural beams that supported the attachment of the rear module had snapped and passed clean through the centre of his chest pinning him to the wall. Bile rose in her throat, not at the sight of his terrible injuries but more at the vision of his perfectly composed expression. It was one of almost gentle surprise. The wound had obviously been immediately fatal.

She leaned against the wall until eventually the dry heaves subsided then made her way to Gethyn in the corner. She was careful to avoid glancing in Buster’s direction as she ran a scan on Gethyn; fractured fibula, knee shattered and an open wound. This was something Misaki was trained to deal with and she efficiently set about treating the injuries. Analgesic, sedative, bone regeneration, auto suture for the wound; the work was enough to distract her from the grizzly sight in the corner.

She eventually applied a stasis support to the knee, something that her equipment was ill equipped to deal with, and then made her way back to the cockpit keeping her eyes carefully averted.

By the time she returned, Hannick was more alert and sitting in the co-pilot’s seat. Seeing the look on Misaki’s pale face, was enough to tell her that something awful had happened.

“I am so sorry Mara. We lost Buster.”

Hannick closed her eyes in quiet pain. Buster was a bear of a man but the gentlest soul she’d ever known and somebody she had grown increasingly close to over the past few weeks. When she looked back at Misaki, her eyes were moist but her look was determined.

She stood somewhat uncertainly and said, “I’ll move Abbi forward while you contact the ship.”

Misaki wanted to warn her about what she would see, but the look on Mara’s face said that no matter what she had to see it for herself, and Misaki simply nodded.

As Mara disappeared aft, Misaki tapped her commbadge.
“Koch to Angel.”


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0026 FST

Gittings was content now that all transporters were functioning to capacity and the evacuees were being moved rapidly from planet to ship to safety.

Having temporarily taken over comms duties while DeSalle worked the tractors, her panel beeped and she saw that it was the Koch calling.

“Go ahead Koch.”

As Gittings listened to Misaki relate the crash and death of Hammond, she was already tasking one of the minor transporter teams to recover them.

“Hang tight Misaki, I’ve got a transport team ready to take you out shortly.”

“Acknowledged Angel, thank you. Koch out.”

It was yet another sign that they weren’t having everything their own way, and she knew it was still to get worse.


RUNABOUT USS BARNARD
MUNICIPAL PARK EVACUATION STATION
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0028 FST

As the numbers of evacuees had diminished at the evacuation station, the bizarre sound of the sea had continued to become louder. The forefront of the approaching tsunami had drawn the sea back away from the beach revealing the red and black coral reefs in all their beauty, but there was nobody to see it. The few people still left in Coral City were already on the verge of being evacuated and had little time to notice the beauty of their city revealed.

Thriss was the first to see the luminescent wall of water. It rose some 40 metres high dwarfing the single storey sea front buildings and the noise was that of an approaching avalanche travelling at close to 400 kilometres per hour.
The last group of evacuees from her evacuation station sparkled out of existence and Thriss shouted through into the cockpit over the massed heads of those in the aft compartment.

“Ariana, we’re clear! Go!”

As the rear ramp lifted, Thriss watched in awe as the wave approached the shallows. It slowed perceptibly and grew even higher as the following waves mounted up behind and bullied it forward. Her last sight as the Barnard staggered into the air was of the wave striking one of the crystalline like pinnacles that had been built out over the coral reef, shattering it like so much plastic. Then the ramp sealed and Thriss closed her eyes.


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0028 FST

The wave had now reached the zenith of its energy and was at its most destructive as it piled ashore. In its sixteen minute journey inland, it had been barely visible on the surface, but as it reached shallower water so it climbed in height. In its midst it carried detritus and wreckage from the Borg cube that had given the tsunami birth, flotsam that was about to become lethal in its destructive carriage.

Not all the rescue ships were lucky. Two were caught on the ground, unable to lift with the crush of refugees they were carrying. Another three were too late in lifting, their overburdened engines unable to cope with the demands being made on them, and they were ripped from the sky to be smashed against inland high rise edifices.

Its power still unabated, the wave crashed through the pristine canyons of the almost deserted city sweeping people, vehicles, houses and office blocks away in its wake. The destructive wreckage it swept forward with it became the grinding teeth of an insatiable monster and the screech of torn metal and shattered concrete became the city’s death cry.


RUNABOUT USS KOCH
SUBURBS OF CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0029 FST

Misaki and Mara watched in horror as the wave finally broke reducing once proud spires to stunted wreckage and hurling debris and spray high into the air. The ground beneath their feet was trembling before the oncoming onslaught and buildings along the periphery of the park they had crash landed in began to sag and topple, their foundations unable to withstand the tremors.

Misaki found herself about to tap her commbadge, and then dropped her hand in defeat. By the time the ship answered, it would be too late. She looked at Mara, took her hand and squeezed it just as the chime and sparkle of the transporter took them.
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Old October 13 2009, 08:57 AM   #20
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

10

SCORPION
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0030 FST

The away team sparkled into existence amid pristine white corridors, their surfaces mirror bright and spotlessly clean, and the security contingent of five officers spread out in a defensive perimeter around Kat Gray and the combined engineering and medical team.

With the Angel’s complement of runabouts already tied up in operations on Zethander the away team had managed to squeeze in a transport between incoming refugees and were now set to explore the mystery vessel.

Lieutenant Asath Ress looked across to LJ Xantharik who nodded briefly from his position at the corridor junction.

“Clear.”

When he received clear reports from the other three officers at their locations he waved to Kat Gray.

Tapping her commbadge she said “Gray to Angel, away team secure. Nobody seems to be home.”

Dan’s voice answered her. “Well just in case they’re in the bathroom, tread quietly ok?” She chuckled and the tension eased around her.

“Will do Captain. We’ll keep a permanent tricorder link open. Gray out.”

Looking back over to Ress, she shrugged her shoulders. “Any signposts Mr Ress?”

The Ch’Tharian bared his teeth in a broad grin. “Sssorry ma’am, it would ssseem one direction isss asss good asss any other.”

“Then you’re our pathfinder Mr Ress, head towards the null node that sensors reported and we’ll take it from there.”

“Yesss Ma’am.” He flicked a taloned hand to LJ who moved forward to the next junction and squatted to peer round the corners. He waved his hand to signal that the team move forward and so they continued for a while, junction to junction.

Their first surprise came as they rounded a corner into what seemed to be the central thoroughfare of the ship. A side door, one of many such doors they had already passed, hissed open. LJ rolled to the side of the open door, phaser drawn as Ress took up position on the other side. The team froze with the rear guard closing in for protection.

Ress pointed to himself then at the ceiling; he then pointed at LJ and the floor. LJ nodded and at Ress’s signal dove down, his phaser sweeping the lower half of the room. Ress meanwhile had stepped forward to cover the upper half of the room with a wide sweep of his own phaser, but it was empty. Like many doors aboard Federation vessels, it had obviously been designed to detect nearby movement then open.

“Clear Ma’am.”

“Alright, time out team. Lieutenant, give me a security perimeter around the room and we’ll see if we can find any clues about Scorpion.”

Scorpion had become the adopted name for the ship, primarily because that’s exactly what the Captain had said it looked like and the name had stuck. Further scans had proved no more enlightening than the earlier ones with the single mystery being the null node where so far absolutely nothing showed up at all.

As the security team took up their perimeter posts, Ress entered the room first with Kat and the rest of the away team following. The room itself was spacious enough to accommodate them all and appeared to be some form of living quarters. Decorated in sumptuous earth tones of brown and beige it had a wonderfully organic feel to it.
On one wall, small niches held knick knacks of uncertain use but by their appearance were of decorative purpose only.

The science team scanned and recorded each one and confirmed none of them showed any form of power source.

There was a door in the second bulkhead leading through into another room and the third wall had ports looking out into surrounding space.

The final wall held what appeared to be a view screen. At the moment it flashed glyphs in an unknown language, but their red colour seemed to indicate either a warning or a fault. Again holos and scans were taken before the team moved on into the adjoining room.

If function followed form, the comfortable pallet on the floor seemed to be a bed and there was familiar looking furniture around the room with enough differences to assure its alien provenance.

“Ma’am?” Kat looked over to where a Betazoid science ensign was pointing at a small screen which slowly rotated images.

Bingo! Thought Kat. The images ranged from landscapes showing rolling hills and mountains to cityscapes of unimaginable designs. The most interesting images portrayed aliens of a common race both singly and in groups.

They were generally humanoid in appearance showing radial symmetry with two arms and two legs and of graceful build. The face too was humanoid with the exception of its lack of a nose. Instead there appeared to be small gill like flaps in the sides of the neck. Finally, protruding from just inside the hairline were four segmented and bifurcated antennae.

“Nice looking people. Let’s hope we get chance to find out how nice.”

The ensign looked at Kat. “Do you really think there may be some of these people left aboard Ma’am?”

With a shrug, Kat said “Only one way to find out Mr Kallam and that’s to keep looking.” She looked around the room. “Everything scanned and recorded people?” With a full chorus of “yes Ma’am”s she indicated the exit. “Time to move on then. I suspect our Captain might get a little impatient if we sightsee for too long.”

Ress met them at the door and reported that nothing untoward had occurred in their absence.

“In that case Mr Ress, lead on once more. Let’s see what else we can find.”


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0105 FST

As the tide slowly receded from the streets of Coral City, the full extent of the loss and damage began to become apparent. Those surviving parts of the city that had been built over the reef were now isolated islands, their connecting lattice of road and walkways washed away.
The once beautiful and delicate buildings were mere foundations having borne the full initial impact of the tsunami, twisted metal remains reaching upwards like skeletal hands.

The seafront was equally devastated, the majority of the single storey buildings no longer in evidence. Remains of one of the civilian rescue vessels lay like the carcass of a beached cetacean displaying its grid of structural members like a skeleton picked clean by scavengers. Of the refugees who had been aboard, there was no sign here. The power and fury of the tsunami had washed their fragile bodies away, first inland with the initial push before dragging some back out to sea as the water receded.

An overpowering smell of decay and destruction hung over the shattered city. Mercifully, the nature of the force that had destroyed it had ensured that fires were unlikely though it was of little consequence in the short term; there was really little left worth burning.

Miraculously however there were survivors amongst the ruins. What quirk of fate had spared their lives when others around them had perished they would probably never know. Mud covered, disorientated, in deep shock, they staggered from the wreckage seeking help.

But also stirring amongst the mud and debris was something else. Something that didn’t seek solace. Something single minded and implacable. Something whose very nature was as black as its appearance, making the night its ally.

SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0110 FST

The away team had spent the last 40 minutes systematically working their way aft, searching, scanning and cataloguing each open room they had discovered along the way. There had been many accommodation rooms close together which gradually gave way to assorted storage rooms containing sealed cases.

Kat had decided to merely mark their positions for further follow up teams. In the event that they did discover survivors, she didn’t want to have to try and explain that they weren’t ransacking the place. Besides, without being able to decipher the labels, Kat knew they could just as easily be opening cases of poisonous chemicals rather than possible clues.

Workshops or possibly laboratories followed full of arcane equipment that the team pored over without touching. None of it appeared to have active power supplies but it was all as clean as the corridors outside.

“Do you sssuppose, Commander, that thisss isss evidenccce that the crew may ssstill be here?” Ress waved a taloned hand at the pristine room.

Kat conceded the possibility. “On the other hand it may be that they just have a very good maid service.”

Ress blinked his eyes slowly, the Ch’Tharian equivalent of rolling them. “If that isss the cassse I may asssk if they make houssse callsss.”

At last, the team finally reached the null node that still stubbornly resisted scans. It appeared as a spherical enclosure some twenty metres in diameter, its surface unmarked with no evidence of an entrance or indeed any other kind of seam that might be exploited to gain entry.
Vonny Dixon finished her circuit of the sphere and approached Kat Gray.

“Ma’am, whatever it is I honestly don’t see that it could be a safe haven for surviving crew. There are no access points at all. It looks as though however it was manufactured, it was created as a single piece.”

Kat had very much considered the same thing herself. “Any educated guesses?”

“If I was basing those guesses on Federation technology, possibly, but any theory would require at least some access.” Vonny shrugged disconsolately. “Besides, despite the relatively familiar appearance of the rest of the ship, or at least what we’ve seen of it so far, its alien Ma’am which means our guesses aren’t really worth very much without further evidence.”

Kat was about to reply when without warning she was hit from behind and carried to the deck.

“Everybody! Down!” It was the rasping shout of Asath Ress and it had been his body tackle that had floored Kat Gray. He now knelt over her prone form with his phaser pointed upwards at a small white sphere that hovered silently above them.

“Where the hell did that come from?” Whispered Kat.

“It emerged from the sssphere Ma’am. An opening appeared roughly two thirdsss of the way up and it sssimply drifted out.”

And there it sat making no sound and no movement, the opening having sealed behind it without trace.

“Mr Ress, get your team to holster weapons.” Seeing that the Ch’Tharian was about to protest, she cut him short. “Lieutenant, if it had meant to harm us it could have done so without warning. That doesn’t mean I don’t want you ready but threatening it isn’t on the cards.”

Ress reluctantly agreed ordering the team to holster their phasers, but equally advising them to remain alert.

“Ma’am?” It was Vonny Dixon again who was playing her tricorder across an otherwise unremarkable section of deck.
Kat slowly rose, dividing her attention between Dixon and the small sphere. “What ya got Ensign?”

Following Kat’s lead, the rest of the team slowly rose and stood observing the sphere above their heads.

“It’s similar to a data feed trace, but very faint and it’s heading towards the large sphere.” Dixon slowly backtracked, her concentration fixed on the tricorder as it led her across the deck aft toward a bank of doors.

“Ma’am, it isss moving.” Ress pointed upwards and indeed the small sphere had moved, very slowly as if trying not to pose a threat, towards Dixon.

“A little caution Ms Dixon,” whispered Kat, “you’ve attracted somebody’s attention.”

Dixon looked up and saw the sphere tracking her but now remaining at a constant distance. She visibly gulped but nodded her acceptance of the warning before continuing towards the doors.

She eventually looked up as she reached the third door in line and pointed with the tricorder. “This is where it goes Ma’am.”

Kat weighed up the situation and made a decision. “Everybody is to remain in position other than Lieutenant Ress, you’re with me.”

Walking towards Dixon’s position by the door, the only sound was that of Ress’ talons tapping on the smooth floor behind her. “No automatic opening this time surprise surprise,” she commented almost to herself.

She began to feel along the edge of the door seeking some sort of indent or blemish that might mark a means of entry. Dixon copied her movements on the other side until Ress tensed and hissed “Ma’am!”

She looked back and saw the small sphere slowly descending towards them, still not presenting a threat but this time not slowing either. “Step clear of the door, let’s see if it reacts.” They all retreated two or three metres and the sphere eventually ceased its descent, placing itself between them and the door.

There were no obvious markings on the sphere but Kat had the unerring feeling that it was watching them. Without a sound it rotated 180 degrees, or at least appeared to, and moved over to hover by the door. For several seconds it remained motionless before, with a sound like the whisper of soft silk, the door rippled out of existence. The sphere then moved away from the exposed entrance and halted between Dixon and the other two officers.

Looking at Ress, Kat quietly suggested “An invitation?”

Ress looked far from happy as he replied “Or a trap.”

Deciding there was only one way to find out, Kat went to step towards the door, but halted as the sphere quickly blocked her path. Apparently happy that she wasn’t about to move, it returned to its previous position.

“Ensign Dixon, I do believe you may have been chosen as its favourite.” She indicated the door. “If you would?”

Dixon closed her eyes momentarily, took a deep breath, and then slowly walked towards the entrance. The sphere gently bobbed along behind her making no effort this time to stop her.

“Don’t take it persssonally Ma’am,” Ress snickered.

“I’ll try not to Lieutenant.” She leaned sideways to follow Dixon with her eyes. “Ok Ensign what do you see?”

“Whatever it is Ma’am it’s quite a mess. There are what look like term…”

Her voice was abruptly cut off as the door reformed with the same soft sound as before, then silence.

“Oh merde!” cursed Kat. She slapped at her commbadge.
“Gray to Dixon.” The negative connection chirp told her all she needed to know,

“Merde indeed,” rasped Ress.
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Old October 13 2009, 08:58 AM   #21
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

10 (cont)


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0113 FST

“…and since then we haven’t been able to contact her.”

“What’s your risk assessment Commander?” If there was the slightest possibility that the team was at risk aboard Scorpion, Dan wanted them out.

“So far Sir, it seems that our contact has been fairly benign. For now I’d prefer to wait it out over here.”

Dan was happy to trust in Kat’s assessment of the situation but just to make sure he’d ensure that one of the transporters was dedicated to a keeping a constant lock on the team. “Alright, keep me updated. Angel out.”

“Lieutenant Gittings, arrange for the next free transporter team to keep a constant lock on the away team then advise Commander Gray.”

“Aye Sir.” As Gittings dealt with that matter, Dan returned his attention to the bigger crisis.

“Commander T’Sell, tell me you have good news?”

T’Sell raised an eyebrow, and Dan noted that she had to brush an errant strand of her normally immaculate hair back behind a finely pointed ear.

“I would say that it depends on your definition of good Sir. Right now we’ve managed to negate all the major threats and almost half of the mediums, but there will still be many that get through.”

Dan smiled ironically. “Right now that amounts to good news Commander, well done.”

Dan stood, only now realising how much tension had crept into his muscles and he worked the kinks out of his shoulders.

“Commander Machilveen, you have the bridge. I’ll be in the ready room giving a preliminary report to Starfleet. Any change in status, inform me immediately.” He also needed a very black coffee but the report would need to be done first.

The Chief Engineer left her post at the rear of the bridge to take the centre seat, the majority of her work complete, while Dan headed tiredly into the ready room. It seemed almost impossible, but in the space of two hours their quiet layover at Zethander had turned into a major crisis. Dan had watched with quiet satisfaction though as his untried crew had risen to the challenge.

And, he realised, so had he. Maybe Starfleet did get it right after all he conceded wryly. Of course it wasn’t over yet, not by a long way.

SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0113 FST

“…There are what look like terminals in…”

Vonny heard the rustling silk sound of the door reforming behind her and spun around. Sure enough, the door had indeed re-solidified and she found herself alone in the room with the sphere. It hung motionless by the door, and much like the Commander earlier, she had the unnerving feeling it was watching her.

Strangely, however, Vonny didn’t feel panicked at being physically cut off from the rest of the away team. The ship in general and the sphere in particular had made no threatening move against the team’s exploration.
Realistically though, Vonny had to admit to herself that that situation could change at a moments notice.

Tapping her commbadge, she wasn’t totally surprised to hear the negative connection chirp but she tried it again just to make sure. Satisfied that, for now at least, she couldn’t contact anybody, she turned her attention back to the room she’d been isolated in.

Along the furthest wall was a bank of…well, somethings with empty receptacles along their pristine white faces. It was almost like an isolinear chip bank aboard the Angel, a notion reinforced when she noted small rectangular solids scattered on the floor around the wall units.

To her left was an tall unit which resembled a transporter station although it was encased rather than open and only had a single pad. There were no controls that she could see so for now she moved on.

Beyond was a work surface, angled to sit at a comfortable viewing level for the 'almost' chairs that were arranged before it. Vonny thought of them as 'almost' chairs because there was something slightly off about them. The seats and backrests were normal enough, but they seemed to sit too near the deck as if the race that used them had much shorter legs. Vonny knew that wasn’t so however having seen the holos in the accommodation rooms. If anything, their legs seemed longer. Another fact to store away.

Across to her right was a similar arrangement but without the seats, and finally there was the empty wall that contained the entrance. She scanned and recorded all this along with her own descriptions and thoughts, and when eventually she realised there was little more to do from her current position she moved towards the seated console.
The sphere followed her slowly, neither opening nor closing the distance between them, and she sat down.

“So what next oh mysterious orb? Am I meant to do something here?”

Vonny hadn’t expected a response and so was surprised when the previously white orb flickered through various colours. Vonny quickly raised her tricorder but was too late to scan the changes before it returned to its original white. She thought for a moment. It seemed to have reacted to her voice and yet outside the room it had made no such show when anybody else had spoken.

Feeling slightly silly, she pointed at herself and said slowly and clearly “Vonny Dixon.”

There was a slight flicker of colour this time then nothing. The tricorder however had picked up signs of activity that it could not yet define but were definitely emanating from the orb. Is it trying to understand me she wondered?

She stood enthusiastically and obviously a little too quickly, the sphere bobbing backwards away from her. Realising she must have spooked the thing she raised her hands palm out in the most non-threatening way she could. “Sorry! Sorry. I’ll just sit down again.”

How can I do this? She examined what she carried with her, which in essence was very little. The tricorder, a palm beacon, a holocamera and her commbadge was the limit of her gear. She suddenly had an idea and scrolled through the tricorders menu until she found the presentation menu.

Selecting the projection item she aimed the tricorder at the blank wall beside the door and brought up a presentation on the United Federation of Planets.

Instantly, a galactic map appeared showing all four quadrants and Vonny stood slowly to approach the display. Pointing to the central core worlds and then tracing her finger around the periphery of the Federation’s boundary she said “United Federation of Planets.”

She was gratified to see a sudden expression of interest as the lights once again began flashing. A red beam not unlike a laser pointer lanced out to trace the same boundary that Vonny had. “Yes, that’s it, United Federation of Planets!” She repeated the demonstration a couple of times then the sphere changed tactics. Its pointer outlined the periphery of the Romulan Empire appearing above and to the right of the Federation. Vonny traced the outline herself and speaking clearly said “Romulan Star Empire. Romulan Star Empire.”

The sphere now took the lead, tracing out different sectors of the map with Vonny describing each one in turn. “Klingon Empire.” “Tzenkethi Coalition.” “Cardassian Union.” “Ferengi Alliance.” The list went on until eventually most of the major powers and territories had been covered. Next Vonny brought up images of some of the races prevalent in the Alpha Quadrant.

She started with Humans and as the image displayed, she waved her hands to indicate herself. “Human. I am Human.” The beam pointed straight at her, then at the image and the sphere stayed blue for a few seconds. She’d noticed this before and decided now that when it did this it meant (or at least she thought it meant) that the sphere understood. She nodded and progressed through Vulcan, Andorian, Tellarite, and as many other Federation member races as she felt made sense.

She finally collected all the images together and overlaid them on the map. First she circled the small images of the disparate races, and then pointed at the area of space covered by the Federation. “Federation.”

When the sphere copied her actions and turned its affirmative blue she smiled. Aren’t you the clever one? She thought, and then repeated the process for all the other powers she’d outlined. Checking the chrono, she realised with some surprise that half an hour had passed and she suddenly wondered what the away team would be doing. Vonny was fairly certain that Commander Gray would do nothing to antagonise the ship or the sphere unless she felt there was some danger to the team, and as far as she could tell that wasn’t the case right now.

Deciding to take the initiative, Vonny slowly walked around the sphere and stopped at the door. She pointed and said “Open?” The sphere didn’t move to stop her but when she pointed at the door it glowed yellow. Obviously not. She was surprised again when the sphere bobbed away from her to hover by the wall containing the empty receptacles. It glowed blue, then descended to hover above the solids on the floor and glowed blue again before rising once more. It repeated the performance and then sat quite still.

Vonny waited a moment to see if there would be more. She found herself wishing that she herself could change colour to indicate her…wait, the palm beacon! Taking it from the bag over her shoulder she checked the filters which were designed to shine any colour of the spectrum (and some beyond) during engineering work. The sphere did nothing else but observe her.

Eventually, impatient with her lack of response, it approached her and then backed away to repeat its performance. Vonny interpreted the dance to indicate that the sphere wanted her to replace the scattered solids in the receptacles. Selecting blue on the palm beacon - and hoping this particular shade had no other connotations to the sphere – she shone it for a few seconds. Almost comically, the sphere bobbed up and down appearing almost excited. “Ok my small friend; let’s see if I’m half the engineer people keep telling me I am!” Vonny walked over and sat amidst the pile of solids. “Trouble is where do I bloody start?”

The sphere, naturally, said nothing.
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Old October 13 2009, 09:27 AM   #22
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

11

USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0145 FST


Dan was suitably refreshed after taking 10 minutes out to grab a shower before filing his report with Starfleet Command. They’d immediately dispatched a Starfleet Corps of Engineers vessel, the USS Brunel, which was scheduled to arrive within 72 hours, and the USS Mainstay, a step sister to the Angel, was due a day later under the command of his old friend Captain William Johnson.

All told, the Angel and her crew had been instrumental in moving over 5,000 refugees to safety. Some had been beamed aboard and were still here while others had been immediately routed back down to refugee camps inland away from possible impact sites. Many more had escaped in civilian registered ships or had been beamed aboard the orbital dock facility, but despite their best efforts there had been significant loss of life. With the initial frantic rescue operation almost complete, the aftermath was likely to take a lot longer to deal with.

He stepped out on to the bridge, glad to see that the majority of the prime bridge crew had now rotated out leaving the Gamma shift crew in place. Commander T’Sell was still at Science 1 and he knew that DeSalle was taking only a short break in readiness for beaming over to Scorpion. That reminded Dan, time to check in.

“Angel to Scorpion away team.”

Kat responded immediately, but with no great urgency in her voice.

“Go ahead Captain.”

“Commander, any change in your situation?”

“Absolutely none,” she replied, “which I’m currently accepting as a good thing. If the ship had meant us harm I suspect we’d have known about it by now.”

Dan nodded, “Agreed. Do you want to switch any team members out while we have breathing space?”

There was a brief pause as Kat conferred with the away team. Finally she replied, “Not yet Captain, but if we get to the three hour mark with no change we’ll re-evaluate.”

“Stay on your toes out there Kat. We’re keeping a transporter lock on you but right now that doesn’t extend to Dixon.” And that worried Dan. He’d hate to pull the away team out and leave one behind, especially when that one had been responsible for saving his life.**

“Understood Captain, we’ll keep you informed.”

“Thank you Commander, Angel out.” Dan closed the transmission and returned his attention to the crisis on Zethander.

“Right T’Sell, let’s see where we’re at.”

(** The story of the previous events at the Utopia Planitia Training Facility is covered in the STARFLEET ACADEMY series of stories available on my site!)


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0145 FST


The night that earlier had been crystal clear was starting to close in over the remains of Coral City. Dark clouds were piling up effectively blocking the light from the planet’s two moons. Dahaan Marechenis had spent the past hour working her way down through the dark stairwells of her apartment block, carefully stepping over detritus that had washed up as the waters had pounded at her walls. She passed the occasional body, often twisted and broken resembling little more than rag dolls. So far she’d managed to keep it together, but it was an effort to hold back her tears.

As she stepped out of the apartment block at street level, the darkness remained stygian. Normally, even at this late hour, revellers would still be thronging the well lit streets flitting from clubs to holo theatres to market vendors. To see it like this was heart breaking, but for now her only desire was to reach civilization and safety.

Far down the street she heard the rattle of disturbed wreckage and prayed that the buildings around her would remain stable long enough for her to escape their confines.
Dahaan moved out to the centre of the street which seemed the safest and least clogged route. Heading inland, she was continually unnerved at sounds emanating from the darkness convinced that something was following her.

She quickened her pace, passing by the shattered front of her favourite café, The Brandysnap. The beautiful little coffee bar had also contained an antiques shop and as she passed she looked in sadness at its shattered contents. So completely was her attention distracted that she never saw the cable laying across her path and tripped, sprawling in the mud.

As she struggled to stand, a hand caught hers lifting her to her feet. In surprise she was about to thank the Samaritan but her mouth opened in a horrified O as she saw exactly what had helped her. She didn’t even have time to scream.


SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0150 FST


Vonny had stared disconsolately at the solids for a while. Although similar to the familiar isolinear chips of Starfleet, at least they had the decency to be colour coded. As she examined these ones however, she noted that several had markings on them that corresponded with slots in the wall. These she put to one side. The rest had no markings and all looked very similar so she began scanning them with the tricorder.

It transpired that although they looked similar, many had slightly different edges. When she scanned the unmarked wall slots, she was gratified to find that they too showed similar shaping and so began to organize them into groups on the floor.

After 20 minutes or so she had several distinct piles divided into marked, shaped and some that she still wasn’t sure of. She looked up at the sphere which had remained immobile above her throughout and displayed no flashes of colour.

“Well it’s now or never my little friend” she said and flicked her palm beacon to blue. She hoped the sphere would translate it as her readiness to begin. Sure enough, it too flashed blue and then bobbed away from the wall giving her room to work.

She began with the marked pile, carefully matching them to their related slot. As each one was inserted there was a small chime from the console and a blue light lit up above the corresponding niche. Looks like I’m doing it right so far she thought. Five cards later however she struck her first problem.

She slipped the card in but there was no chime or light. Thinking she may have mixed up her arrangement, she checked the markings but found that they were correctly matched. She tried once again but without any luck. Considering the problem briefly, she imagined what she would do back aboard the Angel in a similar situation. If it was a faulty chip, she would pull up a spare and replace it of course, but where were the spares here?

She withdrew the card and held it up to the sphere. At the same time she activated her palm beacon to show yellow hoping that the little orb would understand. For a few moments the sphere did nothing. Come on figure it out. She flashed her palm beacon again and waved the corrupt card and suddenly the little sphere bobbed up, glowing blue.
Scooting off to a corner it hovered beside a blank section of wall which began to ripple before finally dissolving to reveal rows of the cards neatly racked. She stood and hurried over, only to look despairingly at row upon row of seemingly identical cards.

She looked at the sphere and said “I don’t suppose you fancy giving me a clue do you?” She held up the card and flashed yellow then pointed at the racks flashing yellow again. A golden wave of light emanated from the sphere enveloping the card and surprising Vonny so much she almost dropped it. Without waiting for her reaction, it floated off along the racks scanning each row with that same golden beam before stopping and switching to its red pointer once more. Vonny almost felt like it was an obedient little puppy eager to please as it wobbled back and forth.
She drew the indicated card and held it against the corrupt one, delighted to see that it matched perfectly. “Well done Fido!” she laughed, hurrying back to the wall and sliding the card home. As expected the wall chimed and the small blue light lit up. What she didn’t expect though was for the consoles around the room to suddenly come alive and a loud rising hum to begin filling the small room.

“Oh bugger.” Fido said nothing again.


SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0230 FST


The silence that had settled over the away team waiting outside the room was shattered simultaneously by two events. The first was the sound of a rising hum of power as lights dimmed around them. The second was the familiar tingle of the transporter as it whisked them away at the exact same moment that Scorpion raised its shields.


SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0230 FST


Vonny moved quickly over to the consoles to study what might be happening but was at a complete loss. Many of the screens were filled with alien script scrolling rapidly sideways, occasionally pausing and then scrolling once more. The hum had reached a level now that was noticeable but no longer quite as loud which led Vonny to conclude that she probably hadn’t initiated a self destruct.

“You could have warned me Fido.” She watched as the little orb bobbed back to the wall where she’d been working and began to flash blue again. “I have no idea who designed you but they could have at least fitted you with manipulator arms!”

As she returned to her work, she smiled to herself despite the circumstances. This was the reason she’d joined Starfleet and the task engrossed her. It never even occurred to her to feel afraid.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0235 FST


When Kat Gray eventually stepped on to the Angel’s bridge, she saw that the main view screen was filled with an image of Scorpion.

She approached the centre seat and Dan swivelled to look at her.

“What happened Sir? Why were we pulled back?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing” said Dan raising an eyebrow. “The first thing we knew was a power surge and the transporter chief pulled you in. She’d only just got you aboard when Scorpion’s shields went up and since then nothing.”

Kat shook her head in frustration. “I can’t really add anything to that Sir. We were sat waiting for some progress when the lights dimmed and there was what sounded like a power ramp.” She waved her hands helplessly. “Next thing we were here.”

Dan turned to tactical, manned at the moment by the Gamma shift security chief Lieutenant Commander Jorgen Ottesen.

“Mr Ottesen, any change in Scorpion?”

“No Sir. All power levels have stabilised and the ship is not moving. No sign of any weapons charging.” The big Dane shook his head frustrated. “Still no sign of Ensign Dixon though.”

“Maintain passive scans then Mr Ottesen, let’s not spook it. Ops, have the Valkyries come back aboard yet?”

Lieutenant JG Juliette Pontoin shook her head. “Negative Sir. They are waiting for clearance at this time.” Her soft Parisian accent always reminded him of a sultry holo-star and her stunning looks certainly qualified her for the role, but her bridge record was that of a no nonsense officer.

Dan had to decide quickly on Falcon flight. They’d been spaceborne since the start of this incident and maintaining them in the cockpit could be tiring when he needed them sharp. “Very well, bring them in but ask them to turn round as quickly as possible. I want them on cockpit readiness.” That would give them chance to stretch their legs briefly but still achieve a rapid launch.

“Aye Sir.”

Kat leaned in close and said quietly “Told you Starfleet had made the right choice didn’t I?”

He grinned, a welcome relief from the stress of the past three hours or so. “What did I warn you about brown nosing your Captain?”

“Whatever.” She stood and stretched. “With your permission Sir, I’ll grab a coffee and prepare a second away team with Commander DeSalle.”

“Thanks Kat. You did a good job out there.” It was meant as a genuine compliment, but she frowned.

“It’s not over yet Sir. We still have Dixon out there.”

“Then let’s make sure we do this properly Kat.”

She nodded and headed to the starboard bridge turbolift as Dan once more immersed himself in the enigma that was Scorpion.


USS ANGEL – FLIGHT DECK BAY ONE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0242 FST


Mo stepped from the cockpit of the recovered Valkyrie, pulling the flight helmet from her head and shaking her hair loose. At one time she had kept it cut short, operations in the older Peregrine fighter requiring constant use of a full helmet. But since she’d begun piloting the new craft with its more spacious and ergonomic cockpit, she’d allowed her hair to grow and the feeling of letting it down now was luxurious.

“So brave leader, what next?” Homer strode in from fighter bay two with his trademark grin.

“Who knows?” she replied, genuinely perplexed at how they would handle the mystery ship. “For now it’s a case of sit and wait my man, but I get the feeling that if we’re needed it’s gonna be short notice so take your bathroom break while you can.”

“Uh oh”, grinned Homer, “I do hope you didn’t scratch the paintwork out there.” He indicated across to where Spider was examining the rear of her Valkyrie.

“Problem Chief?” Mo walked over to where he stood and saw that indeed across one of the rear plates were three deep gouges.

“Nothing a fresh lick of paint shouldn’t cure I think Ma’am. Did you feel anything?”

As Spider followed the grooves round to the rear of the wing she followed him.

“Nothing unusual Chief. Of course there was a…”

She didn’t get the chance to finish her sentence as Spider leapt back and ran to a wall panel.

“Computer, isolate the craft in Bays One and Two immediately, full quarantine protocols.”

“Bays One and Two isolated,” replied the synthetic voice as force fields sprang up to surround the Valkyries in their individual berths.

“Spider! What the hell is going on?” Mo now found herself caught inside the forcefields with Homer and was feeling more than a little nervous.

“Check out the trailing edge of the wing Ma’am, but just stay back please. Computer, full scans of both Bays for foreign contaminants.”

Mo stepped back and looked beneath the down swept wing of her fighter and gasped in horror. There, gripping the frame was the remains of a Borg arm. She leapt back, almost stepping into the forcefield.

“Damn…” whispered Homer as he stepped away himself.

“Scan complete. Borg artefacts discovered in Bay One and Bay Two. Confirm further directives.”

“Computer, isolate and remove to quarantine, code Alpha One.”

“Working.”

Mo’s flesh crept as first the hand disappeared in a sparkle of transporter activity, and then tiny sparkles flowed up and across the fuselage where the body had obviously been dragged.

“Isolation and quarantine procedure complete. Rescanning Bays One and Two.”

For what seemed an eternity, there was silence and Mo prayed they’d got it in time. Finally, the computer responded in its infuriatingly calm and matter of fact way.

“Scan complete. Bays One and Two are now clear of Borg artefacts.”

As Spider ordered the forcefields to be dropped, he hit his commbadge.

“Tarrant to Bridge, priority.”

“Yes Chief, go ahead.” With the priority call it was the Captain who answered.

“Sir, major problem. We’ve just had to sweep both Valkyries clear of Borg contaminants. If the Angel’s had nav deflectors down at any time, she could well be contaminated as well.”

Dan’s reply was less than eloquent.

“Exactly Sir. Flight deck is reporting clear at this time.”

“Thanks Chief, we’ll get a full diagnostic sweep in. No recoveries to the hangar bay until further notice, bridge out.”

Spider ordered the computer to drop the force fields and walked back to his charge. He stood for a moment looking at the three gouge marks that were the only remaining evidence of the Borg contamination. His face was pale as he turned to Mo.

“Y’know, I used to be scared of dying out there in vacuum. I wasn’t particularly scared of death, just the way it happened. But this…” He waved his hand at the scars. “It’s not even dying and it terrifies me so much more.”

Both Mo and Homer nodded silently, slightly taken aback by the normally phlegmatic Spider’s candid confession.

“Still,” he said, physically shaking the depressing thought, “let’s hope that’s the last of it, for now at least.”

Eyrie strode out on to the deck, hands on her hips, and heard the tail end of Spider’s comment. “We can wish Chief, but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” She turned to Mo. “Captain says that for now you and Homer are cleared to the crew ready room.”

Slightly ashen faced, Mo joined Homer and left the flight deck as Eyrie returned to Flight Ops.

“Do you need a hand with that Spider?”

The Chief turned to Dingbat with a frown. “I think one extra hand was quite enough. Get back to your own bird.”


USS ANGEL – MEDCENTRE FIVE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0250 FST


Misaki looked up as the Medtech finished his examination.

“Ribs will probably be sore for a while and you’ll have a king sized headache if you still refuse to take the analgesics, but apart from that you’re pretty much whole.” He turned to the small table by his side, repacking the scanners and bone knitter. “You were damn lucky down there Misaki.”

“I know Paul.” Her expression was not that of somebody glad to be alive though.

Paul Chalmers sat quietly on the biobed beside her. “Misaki, no matter what I say it won’t change the fact that we lost Buster, but it wasn’t your fault.”

Since beaming back aboard, she’d run through the crash in her mind a dozen times and a dozen times she had come up with exactly the same conclusion, and yet she still felt responsible. Across the room, a counsellor was quietly talking to Mara and Misaki’s heart went out to her.

“How did all this happen Paul? What were the Borg doing?”

Chalmers shook his head. “What do the Borg ever do other than cause misery and destruction?” He stood and faced her. “Look, take the analgesics and rest. Dr Dorian has removed you from flight ops for 24 hours after that smack on the head, so use it ok?”

Misaki sighed knowing that rest wouldn’t come quite that easily, but nevertheless she nodded. “Ok. Please Paul; tell Mara that if she needs me I will be in our quarters?”

“I’ll do that Misaki.” He pressed the hypospray to her neck, and after a brief hiss she felt the pressure in her temples start to ease. Now, if only they had a hypospray to relieve the heavy feeling in her heart.
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Old October 14 2009, 10:21 AM   #23
unusualsuspex
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Location: Norfolk UK
Re: Star Trek : Angel

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

12

SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0254 FST

Vonny held the last ten or so cards in her hands and looked around her at the room, marvelling at how different it appeared to when she’d first entered. Active consoles showed multiple screens of scrolling text and views of space around Scorpion, including a beautiful image of the Angel seemingly close enough to touch.

The lights and chirps from the panel she was working on added life to the room and just a few moments ago, the booth that had the appearance of a transporter had come to life, its pad glowing warmly. While nothing else had happened, Vonny couldn’t help but wonder if it might offer her the means of returning to Angel.

She also wondered whether the changes taking place around her were being reflected across the ship. Her communicator had remained stubbornly silent for the duration of her work so she had no idea exactly what was happening beyond the sealed door.

Sighing, she looked up at Fido, a name that had stuck when Vonny found that applying it had helped her focus slightly better on communicating with the small sphere.

“I don’t suppose you’ve decided to talk yet?” Rhetorical as the question was, she still harboured hopes that replacing the cards would in some way enable it to communicate with her, but so far nothing.

“Oh well, let’s get these last pieces in and see what happens next shall we?” Surprisingly, up to a few moments ago, Vonny hadn’t actually considered the end results of her work. She’d been happy to treat it as an engineering challenge until now, but the thought stayed her hand momentarily.

Fido bobbed down to shoulder height, glowing an affirmative blue and flashing its laser pointer at the slot as it encouraged her to continue. This late in the operation, Vonny realised there was little point in delaying and so, checking the card matched the port, she slid it home.
Again, as had happened twelve times now, the light remained dark and the chime was absent. Withdrawing it, she held it up for Fido to scan and then it bobbed off to indicate the correct replacement. She withdrew the replacement card and returned to place it in the slot where she was rewarded with the familiar light and sound.

Some ten minutes later, with the final card in her hand she looked at Fido. “This is it then. What happens next?” Fido didn’t say of course, and so Vonny slid the card home in its slot. It remained unlit and silent. “Had to happen on the last one didn’t it?” She pulled the card and allowed Fido to scan it, then followed him across to the rack. He roamed the length of the replacements, and then repeated his scan of the card before searching again.

When he stopped and hovered in front of the lines of cards, Vonny stepped up to retrieve the replacement but found the rack empty at that line. Fido flashed yellow as he pointed at the empty rack. For possibly the first time in the past two and a half hours, Vonny was at a loss. Without the card there was nothing at all she could do. She pointed at the line next to the empty one and held up the useless card.

Fido increased his flashing yellow and continued pointing at the empty rack.

“Well unless you can pull up more spares my little friend, there’s nothing I can do.”

Vonny stood silently as Fido bobbed around for a short while in a seemingly random manner. Eventually he returned to her, indicated the unserviceable card and then the slot with his pointer, and flashed blue. If Vonny didn’t know better, she would have sworn it was the equivalent of a shrug.

She returned to the wall and slid the card home with as equal lack of response as the last time she’d tried. Sitting down once more at the console, she watched as Fido bobbed along the panel scanning each slot with a golden wave before hovering at ceiling height over her head. A noise to her left, the same silk rustling noise that had accompanied the dissolving door, caused her to turn as another panel appeared from behind the rippling wall.

A box like extrusion slid out and Fido came down to hover before her. With his laser pointer, he indicated her hands and then pointed at two translucent panels on the front of the extrusion. He flashed blue, hovered to the side and then repeated the show. Vonny stood and reached out her hands tentatively before drawing them back again.

It was then that Fido did the most unexpected thing. Moving in close and flashing blue, it gently nudged her shoulder. There was no force to the action and as soon as it had done it, it floated away again. Vonny was forced to smile at the gentle encouragement and suddenly felt more confident. The contact had been that of request, not demand.

Moving forward with her hands extended before her, she finally placed them against the plates. It was almost as if she had pushed them against a spongy and sticky surface. There was resistance but her hands seemed to sink in a little and it was then difficult to pull them away, until suddenly it released her. The extrusion withdrew and the wall reformed leaving Vonny stood with her hands out and feeling slightly silly.

At the familiar rustling sound, she turned quickly, half expecting the door to have opened to allow her to exit. Instead, what she saw was something totally unexpected, and her mouth fell open in shock.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0310 FST

“Ensign, how are the hull scans progressing?” Dan felt fatigue creeping up on him now and he pressed his hands to his eyes in an attempt to remove the gritty feeling of exhaustion.

The young Bolian, who had replaced Kara Asheen at Science 1, and whose name Dan simply couldn’t remember at the moment, turned in his seat.

“Scans are 30% complete Sir. Negative results so far.”

“Thank you Ensign, keep me updated please.”

Turning to face the main view screen he peered intently at Scorpion. Just what is going on with you? He wondered.

T’Sell appeared by his seat hands folded primly behind her. “Might I suggest Sir, that while we have a quiet period you take a break.”

Dan grinned. “Is it that obvious Commander?”

“As a Starfleet science officer, I am a trained observer.” She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Over the past seventeen minutes, you have yawned six times, rubbed your eyes three times and generally asked staff to keep you updated far too often.”

“Other than that though Commander, is it obvious?” Seeing that she was about to reply, he held up his hands. “It’s alright T’Sell, suggestion accepted. If I’m required I’ll be in my ready room.” He stood to leave the bridge when the chime of an incoming communication caught his attention.

“Sir?” Ottesen called from tactical. “Incoming hail from Scorpion Sir, it is Ensign Dixon.”

Dan’s fatigue fell away instantly. “On screen Mr Ottesen.”
He stepped down from the raised command platform to stand between conn and ops as the familiar view of the white ship changed to show the young ensign standing in a similarly white room surrounded by active consoles and equipment. Her face was slightly flushed and she was beaming broadly.

“Ensign, report.” He’d wanted to say a great deal more but protocol dictated otherwise.

“Sir, there’s a great deal to tell which I think can safely wait until the debrief. The most important part is that there is a surviving crew member and I believe she wishes to speak with you.” Vonny stepped aside and a stunning but obviously alien woman appeared.

Standing in front of the pickup with an air of regality she spoke with a beautiful, lilting cadence. “Hath tehr’manyo cad berekjah. Meendes lek ens’etyel.” She pointed to herself and then inclined her head. “Im neth harch Chariscarpia.”

The last was spoken as if a proclamation of identity although Dan wasn’t certain whether it was her name or her race. First contact protocols ran around inside his head, tumbling over each other and eventually emerging as a broad smile and widespread arms.

“Welcome,” he said, “to the United Federation of Planets.”


SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0310 FST

“Welcome to the United Federation of Planets.” The Captain stood waiting for a reply and Vonny stepped in before the silence could become embarrassing.

When the beautiful alien woman had appeared in the transportation chamber, Vonny had almost panicked, but the calm and gentleness she’d projected had soon soothed Vonny’s fears.

What had followed had been a conversation of improvised sign language as Chariscarpia had indicated herself and spoken her name.

“Hath tehr’manyo cad berekjah. Mends lek ens’etyel. Im neh Chariscarpia.”

The voice had reminded Vonny of Amanda Gittings Welsh lilt as it flowed and danced even though she could understand none of it. Her tricorder recorded every word but with no previous knowledge of the language, it would require much more input before it could even begin to translate.
The woman had pointed to the image of Angel on the screen, and then at Vonny. She nodded, confirming that she had come from there. The next part had been difficult to mime and even more difficult to translate, but it seemed that Chariscarpia was asking if she was the commander of Angel. Vonny shook her head, pointed to herself and at the single pip on her collar. She then repeated the hand on shoulder gesture that the alien had used to indicate commander, pointed to her collar again and held up four fingers, then pointed at Angel.

Chariscarpia had nodded and smiled. She walked across to the bank of cards that Vonny had earlier reinserted. With a questioning look, she indicated the cards then pointed at Vonny.

Vonny nodded but pointed at the non-working card, shaking her head and pulling a hand across her throat. Oops, I hope she doesn’t think that’s a threat! Fortunately, Chariscarpia understood. She pointed to the card, then her mouth and finally at Vonny and herself. It’s the translation unit! Realised Vonny. Typical that the one card she couldn’t replace would be the very one that would be most needed right now.

Chariscarpia crossed to the console in her curious gliding walk and pointed at Angel, her collar and held up four fingers. She then pointed at the deck, her mouth and herself. “You want the Captain to come over to speak to you?” She repeated the pantomime emphasising the words connected to the gestures. Chariscarpia nodded.

Vonny had then pointed to herself, her mouth, her collar with four fingers and finally Angel. Chariscarpia had defined her request instantly and opened the channel that had finally put her in touch with the Captain.

“Sir, I should tell you that right now Chariscarpia’s universal translation equipment is down, but I’ve spoken to her in a fashion and she wants you to come over.” Vonny tried to condense everything into short succinct phrases. “I believe there is no threat Sir, and she will lower her shields at your request.”

Turning to Chariscarpia Vonny nodded encouragingly, and pantomimed with her hands a falling curtain. The alien closed her eyes and aboard the Angel, Vonny heard the big Danish lieutenant report “Scorpion’s shields are down Sir.”

The Captain looked at Vonny with a quirky smile. “It would appear you’ve made a new friend Ensign. Good work. If you wouldn’t mind telling Chascarap…”

“Chariscarpia Sir.”

“Yes,” he said trying to control the blush he knew was creeping up his neck, “tell her that I’ll transport over shortly with Commanders Gray, T’Sell and DeSalle.”

“I’ll do that Sir. The best location is close to the null node where Commander Gray was before.”

Dan nodded. “Thank you Ensign, we’ll be there shortly.” He inclined his head in a copy of Chariscarpia’s previous gesture. “Angel out.”

Vonny stood slightly dazed as the commlink terminated. In the space of three hours she’d gone on her first active away team assignment, repaired an alien ship and made a first contact. Tevara would never believe it!
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Old October 14 2009, 10:22 AM   #24
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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12 (cont)

CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0316 FST

Stowarn had been a member of the voluntary emergency services in Coral City for just twelve months and in that short time, his duties had pretty much amounted to zero. To be sure there had been the usual minor incidents that made up the day to day life of emergency teams across the galaxy, but like the thousands of other inhabitants of Coral City, never in his wildest nightmares had he imagined that one day the emergency he would respond to would be planet wide.

His bright yellow protective gear was now barely visible under a coating of noxious smelling mud and debris. Worse still, in the warm tropical night, it was stifling. He’d been left on duty outside the central governmental tower, or at least what was left of it. It had been decided by control that survivors would try and make for either here or one of the three hospitals and it was Stowarn’s task to record details and arrange transportation for them. So far it had been a lonely and ultimately futile task. The only living thing he’d seen since being dropped off was a bedraggled looking Ethin Gull wheeling above the detritus choked street cawing in confusion.

I know exactly how ya feel fella he thought.

As his face plate fogged up yet again, Stowar finally decided that it was proving to be more of a hindrance than a help and he was willing to risk the stench for a few moments to get some much needed air into the hot, sticky suit. Popping the quick releases, he gratefully pulled the helmet off and wrinkled his nose at the overpowering smell.

He sat on the bottom step and placed his helmet beside him. It had only been a few minutes earlier that he’d received a personal comm to say that his parents and sister were safe and well in the evacuation centre at Reef Park, but their home was history. Still as long as they’re safe…

He cursed involuntarily as his helmet rolled off the step and bounced into a pool of slime that he didn’t even try and identify. Cursing all the way, he bent forward to retrieve it when his neck was snared by something cold, slick and smelling as bad as the street. He struggled vainly to free himself and in his panic, kicked his helmet with it’s built in comm unit further out of reach. His struggle was mercifully brief as nightmare filled darkness enveloped him.


SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0330 FST

Four columns of sparkling light coalesced into the forms of the USS Angel’s senior bridge staff, and as the transporter effect released them they stood for a moment to admire their surroundings. With full power and control apparently restored to the ship, the lighting had taken on a warm and ambient quality that had been absent in the images transmitted by the away team’s tricorders.

Dan sniffed appreciatively. “I don’t know what that scent is but if this goes to plan I’m going to ask Chascarpar… damn…”

“Chariscarpia Sir,” chipped in T’Sell.

He eyed Kat and DeSalle cautiously. “I suppose neither of you two have trouble with her name either?” They wisely remained quiet. “Well, anyway, I’m going to ask if she can give us the secret recipe.”

A section of wall to his right dissolved with the noise that Kat had already briefed him on and a small sphere bobbed through the opening to be followed by Vonny Dixon and the woman known as Chariscarpia.

Chariscarpia stood before him, appearing as a strangely beautiful dark haired woman in her early thirties. Her eyes were a mix of blue fading to violet, and even the frond like antennae, absence of a nose and small gill like structures fluttering at the side of her slender neck that he’d seen in the images couldn’t detract from the serenity she projected. Standing with her hands folded in front of her, for a while she simply watched him and then pointed to her mouth then to the familiar sphere that now hovered by her side.

T’Sell whispered from just behind him. “I believe it may be on a par with our universal translator Sir, or at least what she is using until her own translator is repaired. She obviously needs input for it to begin parsing our language.”

“Ok,” he said, “let’s try the simple stuff first.” Using his hands to gesture at himself he began. “Erm, my…name is Captain Daniel Fishlock of the USS Angel.” He pointed to a screen that displayed the image of his ship. “USS Angel.”

He detected a huff of impatience from behind him. “Sir she is an intelligent being, not a dull child.” He heard Kat snicker, and whispering from the corner of his mouth he said “If you think you can do any better, step up to the plate T’Sell!”

Missing the sarcasm and taking his offer literally, T’Sell stepped forward. “Thank you sir.” Dan didn’t have chance to object as T’Sell held up her tricorder, and passed it to Chariscarpia who took it and examined it carefully. A smile of dawning realisation crept on to the aliens face, and she nodded enthusiastically. Holding the tricorder towards the sphere, a translucent wave of golden light washed over it as it was scanned before a rotating ring of lights appeared around the circumference of the sphere. Within seconds the lights on the tricorder were in synchronisation and Chariscarpia closed her eyes.

“I took the liberty of uploading the Federation standard language module Sir.”

“I appreciate you telling me that T’Sell.” His attempt to hide a smile failed. “Slightly late, but thank you.”

Minutes passed as the tableau remained frozen. Dan took the chance to nod appreciatively at Dixon, who still seemed in awe of the whole situation. She returned his acknowledgement with a smile.

Eventually, the lights on the small sphere slowed and then stopped to glow a healthy blue colour. Chariscarpia opened her eyes and smiled broadly.

Holding out her hands palm up she said in a voice bereft of any inflection, “Captain, I welcome you aboard my vessel.” She bowed her head and crossed her arms across her chest.

Dan stepped forward, mimicking her arms out gesture. “I’m Captain Dan Fishlock of the USS Angel. We thank you for allowing us the privilege of being here Chariscarpia (Yes!). On behalf of the people and government of the United Federation of Planets, welcome.” Indicating the three officers behind him he introduced each one.
“This is my First Officer Commander Katerina Gray.” He knew Kat hated her full name but he thought to himself that’ll teach you to snicker at me. “This is Lieutenant Commander T’Sell, my Chief Science Officer and this is Lieutenant Commander DeSalle my Chief of Security.” He indicated towards Vonny. “Ensign Dixon you’ve already met.”

“Thank you Captain and thank you Ensign Dixon.” She turned and placed a hand gently on Vonny’s shoulder. “Without your hard work, none of this would be possible.”

Vonny blushed furiously but mumbled a thank you. Returning her attention to Dan, Chariscarpia became business like again.

“I have scanned my records Captain and I am now up to date with the situation on the planet below. While there is much I wish to discuss with you concerning my past and my mission, I feel that the safety of those below is of a higher priority right now. Is there any way in which I may offer help?”

Dan considered for a moment, but was unsure of his answer. Chariscarpia’s technology appeared to at least be on a par with the Federation’s if not beyond from what he had seen so far, but knowing little of it he didn’t know what to suggest. T’Sell rescued him.

“Sir, if I might suggest?”

“By all means Commander.”

“Sir if Chariscarpia agrees, I would like to remain aboard, possibly with a science team. It would help to ascertain in which areas Chariscarpia’s aid could be utilised best.” Dan was almost certain he detected a note of excitement in T’Sell’s voice but chose not to capitalise on it. The thrill of first contact was excitement enough for anybody.

“Would that be agreeable Chariscarpia?” The name seemed to flow easily now that he had had the chance to use it properly and not embarrass himself.

She dipped her head in reply, the frond like antennae waving gently with her movement. “Most agreeable Captain; it has been far too long since I had the opportunity for discussion. My ship is at your disposal.”

Dan sighed with relief. As far as first contacts went, this one was proving much easier than any of the simulations in Command school. One thing still bothered him though. “Our thanks.” He paused. “If I may ask, this is a large vessel and we have detected no other crew aboard.”

She lowered her head, but this time in what appeared to be sadness. “Captain, it has been almost two hundred of your years since this vessel had a crew. I will relate the details when you have more time, but suffice to say, they are gone. Irrevocably.”

The pall of sadness that surrounded Chariscarpia as she made that revelation was almost palpable and Dan was moved to say “My condolences.”

Not wishing to prolong Chariscarpia’s obvious discomfort, Dan turned to T’Sell. “Commander, if you’d like to organise a science team?”

“Aye Sir.” She turned and tapped her communicator to speak to Angel and Dan turned back to the exotic alien.

“Ma’am I look forward to talking further with you, and thank you for your forbearance.”

“You’re welcome Captain.”

“Sir, request permission to stay aboard as well?” Dixon was almost hopping from foot to foot. “That’s if Chariscarpia doesn’t mind of course?”

Dan deferred to Chariscarpia on that one. She turned and smiled once more at the young engineer. “It would be my pleasure Ensign. We appear to have struck up quite a rapport.”

“Thank you Ma’am, Sir!”

Dan couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm and nodded.

“If you’ll excuse us then Chariscarpia, we’ll return to our ship. I’ll leave Commander T’Sell to co-ordinate any requirements you may have, and once again thank you for your offer of help.”

“Captain in my many years of travel there have been times when I dearly wished to offer aid and could not. Now is the time to change that. Good luck.”

He nodded and tapped his commbadge. “Angel, three to transport back.”


USS ANGEL – TRANSPORTER ROOM TWO
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0350 FST

As the three officers stepped down from the transporter platform, Dan spoke to the chief on duty.

“Mr Arum, Commander T’Sell is just rustling up a science team to beam over and Ensign Dixon is remaining aboard Scorpion as well. I don’t expect any issues, but maintain a transporter lock just in case.”

“Will do Sir”, replied the Trill.

“If you’ll excuse me Sir, I’d best check in with security control for an update.”

“Certainly Mr DeSalle, though I’d request once you’ve got an update you delegate to the Gamma shift chief and get some rest.”

Looking slightly disappointed, he nodded. “Aye Sir, good night.”

Leaving the transporter room with Kat in tow, he couldn’t help but notice a sparkle of mischief in her tired eyes.

“Go on; spit it out before you burst.”

“And I quote, ‘Thank you for your forbearance’ unquote!” Her trademark laugh echoed down the corridor startling a passing medic who ducked reflexively. “Since when did you start to use words like that Captain Fishlock Sir?”

Dan pinched the bridge of his nose. “See! There’s that whole respect issue again. Why did I decide to surround myself with people who don’t respect my multifaceted skills?” He stopped dead in his tracks. “Did I just say multifaceted?”

She nodded, barely suppressing another guffaw.

He sighed and carried on walking, but at least now he had the feeling that things – as bad as they had been – were at last coming under control.
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Old October 14 2009, 10:37 AM   #25
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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13


ZETHANDER EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CENTRE
RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE

September 12th 2371 – 0817 FST

Like many governments across the quadrant, plans for crisis situations revolved primarily around maintaining a coherent chain of command. At any one time on Zethander a senior government official was delegated to be at the Rainbow Mountain safe facility. In the mere hundred or so years of the colony’s history, and despite their relative proximity to the Tzenkethi borders, there had never arisen a need to evacuate the seat of government here.

However, the regular rehearsals for just such an eventuality had paid off in the overnight crisis. All but two of the twelve elected council members had been ferried to the safe haven built deep into the bedrock of Rainbow Mountain some forty kilometres south of Coral City. Sadly one of those missing was the Planetary Governor Carnac Ferith.

He and his wife had been attending the opening of a brand new complex on the Coral City waterfront and although when the emergency call went out his security detail checked in to say they were airborne and safely en route, nothing further had been heard from them.

For the time being, temporary control had passed to the Deputy Governor, a striking Vulcan woman named T'Prar, who had retired to Zethander after the death of her husband. Her return to politics had been unintentional, but the role suited her and until now it had been an almost bucolic mission.

“Council members, I pronounce this emergency session of the Zethander Planetary Government in session. Those present include myself Deputy Governor T’Prar, Transportation and Communication Minister Enrik Tharl, Trade and Commerce Minister Arianne Morgan, Industry Minister Carl Hagan, Agriculture Minister Asheth Penraj, Energy Minister Conrad Harbin, Minister for Health Tanya Edwards, Planetary Security Minister Kerry Ethlan, Planetary Development Minister Belle Zeth and Militia Forces Representative General Argan Mendark.”

Looking around the table she saw tired and frightened faces. Even the expression on General Mendark’s face betrayed the stress and tension he was under.

“Those absent,” she continued quietly, “include Planetary Governor Carnac Ferith and Immigration Minister Patricia Hoyt, both currently missing following last nights events.”
She sat down at the head of the table and folded her hands in front of her, taking a deep cleansing breath before continuing.

“If you would all study your PADDs, as pro tem Head of State, it is my duty to instigate PROJECT FIREBREAK which you will see described in detail there.”

Her opening words were purely for the recorder as each member of the Emergency Council was well aware of PROJECT FIREBREAK and had rehearsed its implementation in exercises many times. Putting it into practice now could prove much different however.

“Before I outline further individual areas of responsibility, I would like a brief update from each of you as to the current state of your departments and their ongoing operations. Enrik, if you would start please.”

Before the dour faced career politician had a chance to begin however, General Mendark tentatively raised his hand. T’Prar turned towards the grey haired political representative of the Zethander military and noticed the dark circles around his eyes. His uniform, normally immaculately pressed was both rumpled and smudged with dirt, something she had never seen before.

“General?”

“Ma’am, begging Minister Tharl’s forgiveness, but I’d like to make my report and get back out in the field? Right now there are a thousand and one things happening out there that I need to be co-ordinating.”

Tharl waved a weary hand and nodded for Mendark to proceed.

“Thank you Minister Tharl. Vice Governor, Ministers, I’m sure you’re well aware that right now it’s a serious mess out there. In the worst hit areas we have no power, communications or municipal systems at all. Further inland and away from the impact zones, whatever facilities we do have are disrupted to varying degrees. Unfortunately this is affecting rescue and recovery operations.”

Kerry Ethlan, the Planetary Security Minister seemed surprised. “I can understand power being a problem as well as the municipal facilities, but why communications and transport?”

Mendark sighed. “If you recall Ma’am, some while ago I requested that the communications centres for the military received further hardening against electro magnetic pulse effects and was told that it was a low priority.” She nodded. “Well there’s a decision that’s come back to bite us in the ass.” Ethlan blanched at the comment, but the General continued, his ire rising. “When the Borg ship exploded overland, whatever lit off in there gave us a mighty fine EMP blast. It didn’t wipe out communications totally but its left us severely handicapped. The tidal wave took out everything that was left on the coastal stretch which is exactly where we need it most.”

In an attempt to recover, Ethlan blustered. “That still doesn’t explain why the military’s transports can’t do their jobs. Or are they lacking in some way as well?”

Mendark was by this stage tired, irritated and behind schedule and his comment showed it. “With respect Ma’am, we could have a fleet of luxury starliners working over Coral City but without communications, just how in hell do we co-ordinate it?”

Ethlan’s mouth opened and closed several times without making a sound. Seeing that he’d made his point, Mendark turned his attention back to T’Prar.

“Ma’am, despite the superb work by the USS Angel and the civilian crews last night, we’re looking at upwards of 10,000 dead and twice that number injured throughout the disaster zones. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that number will rise as we get further into the operation.” He opened a page on his PADD. “Right now I have several requests.”

T’Prar nodded for him to continue.

“Firstly, I need to relocate Command and Control to the Angel. She has a better overall capacity at the moment and I’ll supervise from there.”

Nodding, T’Prar said, “Captain Fishlock has already volunteered whatever facilities we may need. I cannot see that being a problem, I’ll action that immediately.”

“Thank you Ma’am. Secondly, I hate to do this but I request that within specified areas, a state of martial law be declared.”

That stirred up a hornets nest.

The General ignored all the angry comments thrown at him and focussed solely on T’Prar. “It’s not something that ANY of us want Ma’am, but I need to restore authority into areas that are falling apart. I can’t do that with bouquets of flowers.” He turned to Agriculture Minister Asheth Penraj, the loudest complainant. “Minister Penraj, were you aware that pieces of Borg wreckage fell on and around Widemeadow?”

Widemeadow was a small town some 40 kilometres south of Coral City and Mendark was well aware that it was Penraj’s home town.

The Minister’s face turned ashen at the report. “No I was not aware of that General.”

“Neither was I until shortly before this meeting Minister. It’s torn a hole two kilometres long through the suburbs and right now there’s panic and rising lawlessness.” Mendark regretted the sharp way he’d delivered the news, but it appeared to have silenced the objections.

“Ma’am?”

T’Prar studied the faces around the table and seeing no further dissension nodded her acceptance. “Approved General within the strictures of Standing Government Security Order 5.”

“In that case Ma’am, Ministers, if you’ll excuse me I have work to attend to.”

“Thank you General.” T’Prar looked at him with conviction. “Do your best.”

As he strode from the room, she silently wished him luck because she knew that he, like all of those in this room, was going to need it.

******

As the General exited the large air lock seal that protected the Rainbow Mountain facility, Captain Thomas Rousseau watched him closely. He had a great deal of respect for the ex-Starfleet Marine and knew that if anybody could pull this mess together it would be Mendark.

“So where are we at General?”

Rousseau fell into step with his CO and for a while there was silence as Mendark considered his next move. Finally as they approached the General’s shuttle he stopped.

“Tom, I want you to rustle up a HazTeam from Tango Control. Get them out to Widemeadow and I’ll drop you off there to take command. Head from there up to Bayview then work east towards Haven. I need a sitrep of what’s happening on the ground as soon as possible Tom.”

“Comms are out at Tango Sir but I’ll check out Widemeadow then hitch a ride with a garrison transport. I can pick up the HazTeam and head north to Bayview from Tango.”

Mendark checked his PADD and nodded. “Ok, seems good Tom. We’ve been granted Security Order 5 so if there are any areas that look bad you’ll need to call in the troops.”

As they climbed aboard the military shuttle and lifted, Rousseau took a final long look at the tranquil surroundings of Rainbow Mountain knowing that Widemeadow was likely to be quite the opposite.


USS ANGEL – CRISIS CONTROL CENTRE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0830 FST


“Vice Governor, please tell General Mendark that whatever aid we can offer is his, either here or on planet.”

The stately Vulcan inclined her head. “Thank you again Captain Fishlock. Do you have any further update on the arrival of the engineering and supply vessels?”

Checking the status board, Dan grimaced. “Still around 60 hours before the USS Brunel can reach us Ma’am and the USS Mainstay will be here about 16 hours after that.”

T’Prar smiled in sympathy. “Don’t worry Captain. I’m well aware that even Starfleet can’t change the laws of physics.” She looked off-screen as her name was called. “Captain, I have to go but General Mendark will be contacting you directly to organize his needs. Once again thank you.”

As the screen faded back to the familiar UFP logo, Dan was only too well aware that they’d been in the right place at the right time otherwise it might have been the Angel that was three days away.

He looked around at the hushed activity in C3 and realised that his presence here was only likely to interfere so made his way back through the connecting passageway on to the bridge. The atmosphere here was the same mix of professional calm and Dan stepped around to Science 1.

“So Ensign, did the hull scans pick anything up?”

“Yes Sir, but the Borg debris was inert.” Kara Asheen had stepped in to cover the position while T’Sell was aboard Scorpion and Dan was impressed as she continued. “I had workbee crews out to clear it anyway but I believe that our navigational deflectors stopped the majority of it contacting the hull. All areas have now been sterilized.”

Dan gave a sigh of relief at the news and turned to DeSalle at tactical. “Commander, you can stand the security teams down from general quarters. It would appear that we won’t be expecting the Borg after all.”

“Aye Sir.”

“Good work Ensign. Commander DeSalle, you have the bridge. I’ll be in my ready room if I’m needed.”

As DeSalle took the centre seat, LJ moved across from his auxiliary console to replace him at tactical, and Dan left the bridge feeling confident that Angel and her crew had proved themselves above and beyond the basic tenets of their mission brief. It was a good feeling.
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Old October 14 2009, 10:38 AM   #26
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13 (cont)

WIDEMEADOW GARRISON LANDING FIELD
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0856 FST


As the shuttle boosted for orbit, Rousseau watched it dwindle in the clear blue sky. The rain that had swept through after the previous night’s calamity had cleared to leave the garrison compound smelling fresh, but he knew that was only because they were upwind of the shattered suburbs of Widemeadow.

As they’d flown over on the way in, he’d seen the deep, smoking scar across almost two kilometres of scattered housing that had been the final unintentional strike by part of the Borg cube. A large segment of it still sat at the head of the charred trail it had carved through the small town; dark, ominous and according to the onsite team, lifeless.

“Captain Rousseau?” He turned to see one of the combat engineers waving from atop the dark green Rhino, an eight wheeled APC that was the work horse of the ground troops here. Jogging over, he entered through the open front ramp and climbed up into the command seat, donning the comms headset as he did so.

Trying once again to raise Tango all he received by way of reply was scratchy static that may have contained a voice, but it was totally unreadable. He’d have to try again as they got closer to Tango, but in the meantime he had a job to do.

“Alright sergeant, let’s go see what it’s like down there.”

As the big machine hummed into motion, Rousseau couldn’t help think how ironic it was that just 24 hours earlier he’d been considering requesting a posting to somewhere with a little more action.


TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0900 FST


Lieutenant Magda Petrov stank, and she didn’t care because right now it was all that stood in the way of an untimely and terrifying alternative. Death.

Crawling along on hands and knees wearing only her underwear, she prayed that there was actually an exit in this direction. Although the conduit she crawled through was relatively intact here, she knew that following the impact of several small asteroids in the general area many of the underground passages had fractured and in some cases collapsed altogether.

As she rounded the turn in the passage, she cursed vehemently as she saw the pool of stagnant filth that had accumulated below the shattered roof. It really didn’t matter how deep the pool was, she wasn’t about to risk poisoning herself by trying to swim in it until she’d exhausted all her other alternatives, and so turned around in the narrow confines to try a different route. She only hoped she had the time.


WIDEMEADOW – IMPACT ZONE
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0906 FST


Up close, the fragment of cube was even more imposing than it had been on their approach. Rising some 20 metres above the lip of the impact trail, it cast a shadow over the surrounding remains of destroyed housing. Rousseau could see remnants of Borg regeneration chambers within the tangle of smashed pipes, cables and bulkheads. Here and there, shattered drones lay at odd angles, their menace perhaps even more enhanced by their lack of limbs or heads.

Stepping from the Rhino, he approached the lieutenant in charge of the security detail, a man he recognised from Tango Control.

“Lieutenant Stebbings, any updates?”

“Nothing Sir. The wreckage and the drones are all inert and damage is restricted to this site. We’ve done a full rescue and recovery sweep, but it was mainly bodies Sir.” He looked up at the wreckage and shivered. “Damn thing gives me the creeps.”

Rousseau could only nod in agreement. “Seconded.” He checked the chrono on his PADD and realised that the situation here was well in hand. “I’ll be taking the Rhino out to Tango. Any luck contacting them?”

Stebbings shook his head, “Nothing yet Sir. Last we heard the impacts had caused some local collapses. Could be they’ve lost some of the conduits out to comms.”

“Alright, for now route it all via Rainbow Mountain. They’re forwarding it all on to General Mendark. I’ll check with Tango when I get there.” Taking one last look at the brooding monolith, he stepped back into the Rhino and considered himself lucky to be leaving the Borg behind him.


USS ANGEL – CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0920 FST


“I don’t know how you could let them butcher her like that. It’s a travesty!”

Dan Fishlock smiled having expected some such comment.

“That’s my ship you’re insulting Bill! Besides, you’re only jealous because you’re still hauling spare parts you pirate!”

Captain William Johnson shook his head in mock exasperation. “Dan, if you can spend the rest of your tour in a mobile hospital then I’m proud of you. Hope Megan doesn’t get jealous about all those pretty nurses though!”

“You, Captain Johnson, are a middle aged letch.” Dan leered unconvincingly at the pickup. “And you’re jealous!”

“I refuse to dignify that with a reply.” Johnson turned as his first officer passed him a PADD, and reading it he smiled. “Looks like we’ve shaved a few hours off the journey Dan. We’re estimating in system at 1625 hours, about 54 hours?”

“Nice work Bill.” Dan knew that every hour counted in getting the emergency supplies in and appreciated even the smallest saving in time. “I’ll get ops to relay the latest on the asteroid shift. It’s really messed up approach patterns.”

“Appreciate that Dan. Any change in ETA and we’ll relay it. Oh and don’t scratch the nice new ship!”

Johnson’s brief guffaw rang out as he terminated the connection and Dan couldn’t resist a smile. He’d known Bill since Command training and had spent his last leave with Bill’s family in the small town of Ashland, Nebraska enjoying one of his legendary barbecues.

His reverie was cut short as the door chimed.

“Come in if it’s good news.”

The door slid aside to reveal Commander Anthony Winston looking tired but at least smiling.

“Anthony, take a seat before you fall down.”

Stifling a yawn, Winston shook his head. “No that’s fine thank you. It’s only a brief visit but I wanted to update you in person.”

Dan knew the surgery teams had been in constant operation since the start of this crisis. Add to that the hundreds of minor injuries that had been treated and he could well understand Winston’s fatigued look.

“The O.R.s are just finishing up now and if you’re basing it on statistics we did well.” He wiped his face with his hands. “Of the casualties we treated, 76% are back on their feet, 16% are still on wards but fine and 4% are in Critical Care but stable.”

Dan did the mental maths and realised that still left 4% and he felt fairly certain that Winston was agonising over that figure. In an attempt to divert the torment, he asked “How are the teams holding up?”

“Considering we weren’t expecting this so soon out of dock, they’ve reacted splendidly. It’s certainly proved the concept.”

Dan smiled to himself at the big man’s cultured English accent and his use of the word “splendidly”.

“I’d appreciate it if you could pass on my thanks to them Anthony.” Winston nodded. “And dare I advise the CMO to get some sleep?”

“Oh I always listen to advice Sir.” He grinned as he left the ready room. “If I get the time, I may even take it.”


TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0922 FST


After another collapsed conduit and then a dead end with a sealed metal plate, Petrov was starting to become desperate. She realised that as of right now, she was living on borrowed time. Having been trapped in the underground labyrinth without her commbadge for almost eight hours, and with no safe exit in sight, her outlook was bleak and becoming more so by the second.

She sat with her arms wrapped around her legs, her shivering at odds with the close, humid atmosphere. Keep moving she reprimanded herself, though the dark spectre of what lay around her added to the chill in her bones. Keep moving!


TANGO CONTROL – SECURITY CHECKPOINT
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0925 FST


Rousseau watched from the command position in the Rhino as the force field protecting the entrance to Tango Control dissolved and the vehicle rumbled forward. It seemed as though the base certainly still had power but even now he couldn’t raise anybody on his communicator.

As the transport pulled up beside the command post, he told the Sergeant to round up the first available HazTeam and meet him back here in 30 minutes. In the meantime, Rousseau wanted to try and contact the General to see if there was a shuttle not already tied up in rescue service that he could commandeer for his site inspection. The thought of being cooped up in the Rhino for hours didn’t appeal at all.

As the outer blast doors swung closed behind him, the security monitor inside passed over and around to scan him. Standing patiently through the familiar operation, he allowed it to take a retinal and palm scan before the inner doors slid aside to allow him entry.

The darkness inside came as a surprise as did the humid air that greeted him. Seems like not everything’s working the way it should be he thought.

“Down here Captain,” he heard the tired voice of one of the command post non-comms call to him. In the dimly lit and humid surroundings it sounded hollow and carried an odd echo.

Walking through into the ops centre, his first shock was to see that most of the equipment was dark and the rest patched together in a bizarre and unorthodox tangle of cables and conduits. As he suddenly realised what he was seeing, his second and ultimately final shock came as something dark and overpowering wrapped around his neck. Unable to make a sound, he slipped into darkness with the scream stillborn in his throat.
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Old October 14 2009, 07:18 PM   #27
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 3

There were a number of really terrific moments here, notably the character interaction between Winston and Pulaski. I’ve always been a fan of Pulaski’s character, and I wished she’d got more than a single season on TNG for viewers to get to know her. Winston’s words of wisdom (alliterative, aren’t I? ) rang true here as he tries to nudge Pulaski back on course.

The problems with launching the fighters while the ship is maneuvering hard hits the mark and seems to be one of those little nitpicky details that falls through the cracks until someone gets killed. Fortunately, the crew chief was savvy enough to realize the danger before the issue raised its ugly head in the middle of an actual combat scenario.

Interesting mess on the horizon with the Federation taking in Tzenkethi refugees. I can’t wait to see where you take things from here.
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Old October 14 2009, 08:13 PM   #28
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 4

As I’ve not read your Academy series I’m not familiar with your cadet characters, but from what little I’ve read of them they’re well-drawn and engaging.

The doctor’s finally onboard, and with only a slight layover to fix the fighter-launch problem, Angel’s nearly ready for open space.

Again, wonderful crew interactions from a variety of species assigned to the ship. You’ve got a knack for establishing characters from the word ‘go.’
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Old October 14 2009, 10:20 PM   #29
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 5

Now I’m wondering if Guinan is going to be joining the Angel’s crew? If so, that would be quite the coup for them… though she does tend to bring a lot of baggage (and hats) with her (Q anyone?). I’m curious to see how this little meeting goes as I’ve got a soft spot for El-Aurians.

The cadets are starting to get the sense of really being out in the universe, far from their comrades and loved ones at the academy.

Spider and Dingbat made away nicely with the tech they needed, but was that a little too easy? I guess we’ll find out.
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Old October 14 2009, 10:53 PM   #30
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 6

Ah-ha, so not Guinan after all, but her daughter! Clever move, and it allows us to get to know a different personality than the one we’ve come to know on TV. I’m eager to see what changes she brings to Angel’s crew lounge.

Spider and Dingbat outdid themselves on that project, and I’m pleased to see them getting the recognition they and their team deserve from the captain and XO.

And it appears some of the crew have more talents than might be obvious upon first glance.
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